WGXC-90.7 FM

Radio News: FCC nominee's fate will tilt 2023 regulations

Jan 05, 2023 11:40 pm

David Oxenford at Broadcast Law Blog predicts the biggest airwave regulation stories in the coming year with the Federal Communications Commission. President Joe Biden's so-far going-nowhere nomination of Gigi Sohn to break the 2-2 Republican-Democrat votes on the FCC continues to be the largest story. Because most issues at the FCC will either be in a stalement or leaning to the Democrats depending if Sohn gets confirmed and tips the balance on the board. The 2018 Quadrennial Review, for instance, could relax local radio ownership rules if conservatives have a tie at the FCC, but would probably continue to favor local ownership if Sohn is confirmed. And, "The Quadrennial Review also looks at the dual network rule that currently forbids the common ownership of two of the Top 4 TV networks," Oxenford writes. More media consolidation and monopolies could be allowed if the FCC remains in a two-two tie, but if Sohn is confirmed companies could see break-ups. There is also a proposal for a Class C4 FM radio service before the commission. The new stations are essentially midway between the power limits of the current Class A stations and Class C3 FMs that are limited to 25 kw. So mostly for small, rural stations, or to fit small stations in urban areas. The opposition on this issue is mostly from current broadcasters who fear more stations will clutter the FM band and perhaps remove existing FM translators from the airwaves or block new translators for both AM and FM stations. So far, the FCC has only issued a Notice of Inquiry on the proposal, but a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking may come this year. Read the full story at the Broadcast Law Blog.