FCC May Change Measurement of Media Concentration

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Los Angeles Times

The Federal Communications Commission has unveiled the topics it is looking to discuss as it considers revising its media ownership rules, and one area it is looking to explore could have ramifications for future mergers between broadcast and cable companies and newspaper companies.

Specifically, the FCC said it will probe whether it could continue to enforce regulations regarding media concentration by industry or should it find an “alternative structure to determine an ownership limit for all media within a relevant market.”

Cutting through the bureaucratic speak, what the FCC is saying is that currently it regulates broadcast, radio and cable as separate businesses and now wants to know if in some areas there should be a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme when it comes to determining media concentration.

For example, a broadcaster is allowed to own TV stations that reach about 39% of the country. Until recently, cable operators could own systems that reached 30% of the country (a D.C. Circuit Court recently tossed that regulation, but the FCC has said it will appeal that decision). More…