MusicFirst, FMC See “Inequities” in AM / FM Policy

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Advocacy groups urge FCC not to change ownership lines for local radio stations

The MusicFirst Coalition and the Future of Music Coalition want the Federal Communications Commission to keep its caps and sub caps on local radio station ownership, at least for FM stations.

“These rules remain necessary to promote diversity, competition and localism in communities across the country,” they told the committee.

They noted that a proposal from the National Association of Broadcasters would allow common ownership of up to eight commercial FM stations in the 75 largest US markets.

Commenting on the FCC’s long 2018 quadrennial review process, the two groups, which champion music creators, wrote: “What we have observed on commercial FM radio in recent years confirms our long-held belief that before. rule-making, FCC should commission its own analysis – beyond mere macroeconomics – integrating cultural, artistic, labor and other concerns of public interest. Such an analysis must genuinely focus on the fundamental political principles of diversity, competition and localism.

The groups say the NAB’s proposal to relax some local caps and eliminate others “raises the frightening possibility that a single company may be allowed to own every commercial radio station in many geographic markets, speeding up good number of damages already described by civil rights. media groups, unions and reformers.

“Having failed to build consensus for their proposal, even among struggling commercial FM station owners,” the coalitions continued, “they only desperately point to the market challenges that the radio industry is facing. faced as justification for a new drastic deregulation of property while avoiding the responsibility of their own anti-. competitive actions and the impacts of their preferred deregulation policies.

Further consolidation of ownership, they said, “is not the answer to terrestrial radio competition concerns.” They rejected the NAB’s argument that caps unduly limit ownership. “In fact, the few AM / FM owners who are currently hitting LRSO caps seem to be bouncing back well. Permanent deregulation of property is not the right remedy.

[Related: “NAB Lays Out Precarious Financial Position of Radio”]

They want the FCC “to chart a different course … rather than accept calls to further weaken important public interest protections on the thinnest of justifications.” He wants the commission to define markets differently, study the impact of past policy decisions on racial equity, and collect better data on what is happening in the market “as it relates to listeners, broadcast owners and broadcasters. content creators “.

They therefore asked the FCC to keep the current maximums on the number of FM stations an entity can own in a market, as well as the AM / FM sub-cap. They did not take a position on whether to reduce the number of AM stations an entity can own in a market.

“We also call on the commission to conduct its own meaningful studies on the effects of FM commercial property deregulation on diversity, localism and intramodal and intermodal competition for use in its upcoming 2022 quadrennial review. analysis of the public interest effects of eliminating the main studio rule, with a view to determining whether the main studio rule should be reinstated in the public interest.

MusicFirst’s founding members include the Recording Industry Association of America and SoundExchange, among other advocacy groups. FMC is a non-profit organization which campaigns for the remuneration of artists.

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