FCC Seeks to Refresh 2018 Quadrennial Regulatory Review Record

On Friday, June 4, 2021, the Media Bureau (“the Bureau”) released a Public Notice (21-657) seeking to update the record in the 2018 Quadrennial Regulatory Review docket, due to the significant passage of time and the Prometheus decision. The Bureau began the 2018 Quadrennial Review on December 12, 2018, by adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that sought comment on whether to retain, modify, or eliminate any structural media ownership rules and also sought comment on several diversity related proposals.  The original comment and reply comment periods closed on April 29, 2019 and May 29, 2019, respectively.  Given the passage of time and recent changes in the Media Ownership Rules landscape, the Bureau seeks to refresh the record.

Specifically, the Bureau seeks comment on the following items to best update the record:

  • Response to Materials in the Docket:  The Bureau seeks comment on materials filed in the docket since the formal comment and reply period ended in May 2019, including unexplored or underexplored issues in the 2018 NPRM and issues for which new and relevant information has come to light.  The Bureau strongly urges commenters to provide detailed analysis, empirical evidence, and/or specific proposals that relate to the Commission’s interest in ensuring its rules promote the goals of competition, localism, and diversity.
  • Media Marketplace: The Bureau seeks comment on new or additional information regarding the media marketplace that is relevant to the proceeding, including information about the industry’s evolution since May 2019 and its current trajectory, technological changes, new entries, consolidations, or changing market conditions, and industry developments that have altered the incentives or behavior of market participants.  Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on how they should consider the increased usage of multicast streams, satellite stations, low power television stations, or ATSC 3.0 transmission standards for purposes of the Local Television Ownership Rule.
  • Relevant Trends: The Bureau seeks comment on relevant trends that have been or are being observed within the broadcast industry, including the growth of online audio and video sources, particularly for consumption of local news and information, as well as traditional broadcast radio and television stations, and their strength and importance in their communities.  Additionally, commenters should provide information about trends regarding broadcast ratings or revenues, including advertising, retransmission consent, and relevant online revenues, and the impact of these trends on the viability of the broadcast industry.  Similarly, commenters should discuss the impact of broadband Internet service on the media ownership rules.  The Bureau asks commenters to distinguish between Internet sources that are independent of, as opposed to affiliated with, broadcast stations in their discussions.
  • Incentive Auction: The Bureau seeks comment on the impact of the 2017 Incentive Auction and the repack of the spectrum band on the Local Television Ownership Rule and the broadcast industry.
  • COVID-19: The Bureau seeks comment on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Specifically, commenters should discuss changes to, or effects on, the broadcast radio and television industries as a result of the pandemic, whether the effects are temporary or permanent, and how the FCC should consider these effects on the broadcast ownership rules.
  • Empirical Evidence: The Bureau seeks additional empirical evidence the FCC should consider in the proceeding, including new or additional data, or recently published or performed studies.

All filings must be submitted in MB Docket No. 18-349.

Comments are due 30 days after publication of the Public Notice in the Federal Register.

Reply comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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