Objections To Elimination of Radio’s Duplication Rule Filed


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.”



  1. MusicFirst and the Future of Music Coalition have consistently objected to anything related to AM/FM radio. This relates to their anger over the lack of a record label & artist royalty for AM/FM radio. So any litigation they can throw in the way works for them. The fact that they waited until the end of the administration to file their objection seems curious to me. Why didn’t they file their objection when it was first proposed?

  2. “Public interest whiners?”
    The airwaves exist “…in the public interest.” Or have you forgotten?
    Radio, and by extension television, was never intended to be a cashbox for investors.
    This is especially true of public radio & TV. They are no longer public nor non-commercial.

  3. It’s always the same old gadfly organizations that, over and over again, have to protest the good things that come out of the Commission.

    Quite frankly, I don’t think we’re even going to see a whole lot of cross-service duplication, anyway. Such a move would be a mostly and obviously inefficient use of a company’s stations to do so. Even in the largest markets, where a licensee is maxed out at 5 FMs and 3 AMs, how many listeners would choose the AM simulcast, given the much-discussed technical limitations of so many AM stations these days, with the signal-degrading noise floor that certainly affects music programming on AM?

    REC and the rest of the ‘public interest’ whiners need to find more fruitful uses of their time.


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