On Monday, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would grandfather current joint sales agreements between TV stations. If passed, this would overturn an FCC rule that makes it harder for a TV station to sell advertising for another in the same market.
The FCC’s rule, passed in March last year in a party line vote, disallowed any TV joint sales agreements where the station sold more than 15 percent of the advertising time on a competing station.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
“Joint sales agreements in Missouri and across the country have helped save TV stations from going dark, increased program diversity, and enabled local news programming for many TV broadcasters,” Blunt said in a statement.
The FCC has approved more than 50 agreements like this, but changed its rules in March.
The National Association of Broadcasters, Nexstar and Howard Stirk Holdings all filed lawsuits against the FCC’s rule in May.
“It is sheer folly for the FCC to ban two TV stations in cities as small as Wichita from sharing services that can help preserve and enhance localism,” the NAB said in a statement.