The FCC has officially launched its 2018 Quadrennial Review of the its media ownership rules to determine whether they “are necessary in the public interest as the result of competition” and to “repeal or modify any regulation [the Commission] determines to be no longer in the public interest.”
The rules subject to this quadrennial review obligation include the Local Radio Ownership Rule, the Local Television Ownership Rule, and the Dual Network Rule. The Local Radio and Local Television Ownership Rules limit the total number of broadcast radio and television stations, respectively, that may be commonly owned in a media market. The Dual Network Rule prohibits a merger between or among the Big Four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC).
In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the commission said it was seeking comment on whether the three rules continue to serve the public interest or whether they should be modified or eliminated in light of changes to the media marketplace. In addition, the notice seeks comment on three proposals relevant to promoting diversity in the broadcast industry. The statute specifically excludes the national television ownership cap from the quadrennial review.