No surprise here. The 206-page filing includes charts, graphs, details of financial reports, a 2-page Table of Contents, and a summary. We’ve summed it up for you in a few paragraphs.
The NAB wants to see more deregulation for its radio and TV members. Most NAB members want to see the rules changed and caps lifted. iHeartMedia does not. The argument in favor is that the media landscape has changed drastically since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and it’s time the federal government got with the times. Radio no longer only competes with radio, according to the NAB’s comments, and there is a brutal fight on for the limited time and attention consumers have.
The argument against allowing owners to own more stations goes like this. If a company already owns six, seven, eight stations in a market now, the bottom one or two are under-performers, so they get thrown in as a bonus on ad buys. What makes anyone think owning 10 stations will make that situation any better?
This is a very radio-friendly FCC and most executives, bankers, and brokers we speak to on the topic believe there will be some loosening of the ownership limits. What that looks like is unclear until the Commission writes the final order.
The NAB is calling on the FCC to adapt its proposal:
- In Nielsen Audio markets 1-75, a single entity could own or control up to eight commercial FM stations, with no cap on AM ownership;
- To promote new entry into broadcasting, an owner in these top 75 markets would be permitted to own up to two additional commercial FM stations (for a total of 10 FMs) by participating in the FCC’s incubator program; and
- In Nielsen markets outside of the top 75 and in unrated markets, there would be no restrictions on the number of commercial FM or AM stations a single entity could own.
The NAB states that its proposal, “reflects the competitive changes in the marketplace that impact broadcast radio generally, and it appropriately accounts for the special challenges facing small-market stations and AM stations in particular.”
Got some time to kill? Read the NAB’s comments HERE.