Last Friday, the FCC published the December Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the national ownership cap in the Federal Register.
As we wrote about back in December, the NPRM addresses the current prohibition on any entity owning or controlling television stations that reach more than 39 percent of US television households. The NPRM requests comment on whether the Commission can and should reduce or completely eliminate the national ownership cap in light of changes in the media landscape since it was adopted back in 2004.
In addition to asking for comment on the threshold issue of whether the Commission has the authority to modify the 39 percent cap, which is included in the Communications Act, the Commission is seeking comment on whether the current media landscape still necessitates a national ownership cap at all and whether the UHF discount should be modified or eliminated. On the UHF discount, the Commission is seeking comment on what impact an elimination of the UHF discount would have on the broader video marketplace.
Publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register means that comments are now due by no later than Feb. 26 with reply comments due before March 27.