Decades-old cross-ownership rules will stay in place


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in August to keep in place its rules prohibiting most newspapers from owning broadcast outlets in the same market. 

In its quadrennial review of the media cross-ownership rules, the FCC did provide a new exception to the ban, allowing a “failed or failing newspapers” to receive investment from a broadcast business in the same market.

Associations representing newspapers and broadcasters blasted the unanimous vote by FCC commissioners, saying the restriction, first adopted in 1975, was outdated in a digital era. 

“Newspapers continue to be the only industry barred by regulation from investment by owners of local broadcast companies, many who are equally committed to local journalism as the local newspaper,” David Chavern, CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, said in a statement. 

The provision for a same-market broadcaster’s investment in “failed or failing” newspaper is meaningless, Chavern said. “Requiring newspapers to fail or be close to failing before they can draw much needed investment from broadcasters is a ‘too little, too late’ recipe that will never be pursued given the low barrier entry for news on digital and mobile platforms,” he said.  

The National Association of Broadcasters also criticized the FCC decision, saying it was clinging to “long-outdated media ownership rules that no longer serve their purpose.” 

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said in a statement that the decision “will further hasten the great decline of our nation’s newspapers and the quality of journalism as a whole.”