REC Networks, musicFIRST Coalition and Future of Music Coalition have filed a joint reply to the FCC’s 2020 Report and Order to eliminate radio’s programming duplication rule. The three organizations took issue mainly with the NAB.
The FCC’s 30-year old rule, which “prohibited radio stations from devoting more than 25 percent of their average broadcast week to programming duplicated on a commonly-owned station in the same service, if the stations substantially overlap,” was eliminated in August of 2020.
REC Networks, musicFIRST Coalition and Future of Music Coalition argue that the
NAB, without providing any substantial evidence, attacked their original petition in opposition of repealing the rule and that the Commission violated the Administrative Procedures Act.
The new filing argues that eliminating the rule on FM stations will lead to less diversity on those radio stations. They want the FM portion of the rule reinstated and, when needed, stations can file for a waiver, which was the way it was done before the Order was adopted.
From the new filing: “NAB’s argument fails to take into account that larger corporate owners of FM radio stations could engage in widespread local duplication of FM programming in the wake of this needlessly drastic rule change, if the FM portion of the Rule is not reinstated. Such widespread duplication of programming would necessarily harm the public interest in program diversity at local market levels. The Commission therefore should reinstate the FM portion of the Rule and then monitor waiver applications for local FM duplication of programming in order to determine how often, and under what types of circumstances, owners seek relief from the rule designed to protect the public interest in programming diversity on local FM airwaves.”