FCC Sets Date and Deadlines For FM Duplication Rule’s Return


    In June, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reinstate the radio duplication rule for commercial FM stations, following a petition from the musicFIRST Coalition, Future of Music Coalition, and REC Networks. Now we know the date that rule returns.

    Originally enacted in 1992 and repealed in 2020, this rule prevents stations that are commonly owned and have overlapping coverage from duplicating more than 25% of their programming.

    Following its publication in the Federal Register on July 3, the reinstated rule will officially take effect on August 2. From that day, FM licensees will have a six-month grace period – ending February 3, 2025 – to align their operations with the rule’s requirements.

    The FCC has also outlined guidelines for stations seeking exemptions from this rule. Stations have until October 31 to submit their waiver requests. Stations can continue to exceed the duplication limit while their waiver applications are pending. If a waiver is ultimately denied, the FCC may allow an additional six months for stations to comply.

    The National Association of Broadcasters has previously expressed significant concerns, arguing that the rule could hinder FM broadcasters’ creativity and ability to adapt in a rapidly evolving digital landscape filled with new media competitors like streaming services and podcasts. The NAB contends that the rule could impose additional regulatory burdens, potentially stifling innovation and imposing financial strains.

    Despite these concerns, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel supported the reinstatement, saying, “For decades, the Federal Communications Commission has built its media policies around the values of localism, competition, and diversity. I believe in these values because over history they are the best guideposts we have for communications policymaking. I also believe we can modernize our rules while still honoring these principles. Here we do just that.”

    The Commission’s Republican members dissented, emphasizing the harsh economic and competitive pressures radio broadcasters face, suggesting that the FCC should reduce regulatory burdens rather than reinstating older ones to level the playing field with unregulated new media entrants.


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