Apr 3, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission took action this week to curb abuses by television broadcasters that are using joint sales agreements of evade ownership rules. The FCC's ownership rules are necessary to preserve localism, diversity of opinion and competition in local media markets.
NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce applauded the FCC's action that "closed a loophole that has allowed some broadcasters to do an end run around laws intended to limit multiple TV station ownership."
The Commission voted 3-2 to ban new joint sales agreements (JSAs) in which one station sells 15% or more of the advertising time of another separately owned station in the same market. In addition, existing JSAs generally will be required to unwind within two years, unless an exemption waiver is granted by the FCC. The FCC also will ask for public comments on whether broadcasters should be required to fully disclose details about another form of media consolidation, shared services agreements, (SSAs) and whether SSAs should come under additional regulation.
These shared services agreements have resulted in consolidation that has led to communities losing one or more important sources of information in their TV markets, and also have caused significant job loss, Joyce said. "We will tell the FCC that the use of shared agreements is outsourcing at its worst, and skirts ownership cap rules meant to protect the public interest," he said.