To quote the proverbial infomercial announcer, “But wait, there’s more!” Nearly every month under the current Commission, we have considered items to improve the media regulation landscape for our nation’s treasured broadcasters. Considered on their own, many of these actions may seem limited in their significance. Taken together, however, these modernization efforts have served to alleviate real burdens imposed on broadcasters, in turn allowing them to better serve their viewers or listeners and advance the goal of localism in communities around the country. While I am hopeful that we will bring all relevant open proceedings to conclusion by year’s end, this process has also helped highlight just how backward and outdated certain aspects of our media regulation regime really are, and therefore, how much work remains to be done.
To facilitate this process, I would humbly submit a few more ideas, in addition to those I have previously proposed, that the Commission could quickly implement to improve the plight of America’s struggling broadcasters and support local journalism. As many broadcasters seek to rebound from the double-whammy of COVID-19 and asymmetric competition from unregulated Internet-based providers, these reforms are more critical than ever.
To be clear, many of these proposals could exist within the confines of our current regulatory regime, which is governed by misguided court mandates and is at odds with the contemporary media marketplace. I haven’t abandoned my beliefs or policy preferences in favor of dramatically altering our media rules, especially those governing common ownership, but until such an overhaul is sanctioned by the Commission, the Supreme Court, or Congress, we must focus on improving the current broken system incrementally.
Read more at the FCC.