Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to change the 42-year-old cross-media ownership rule that bars broadcast media outlets from also owning newspapers, and vice-versa, in the same market. National Taxpayers Union (NTU) commends the FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai for their hard work and dedication towards modernizing regulations at the agency.
The 1975 rule’s stated goal was preserving and promoting ideological diversity in the media, but the media environment has changed significantly since the rule’s implementation. Instead of one or two daily newspapers and a handful of local television or radio stations, technological innovation has given rise to a much wider range of media options, resulting in a landscape that is considerably more competitive than it was four decades ago.
For local news outlets to regain their position as meaningful players in media, they need to have greater access to capital. Permitting organizations to combine resources in this way allows them to expand their coverage, increase investment in their operations, and streamline efficiencies that benefit consumers and taxpayers. Modernizing the long outdated media ownership rules creates an environment where local news organizations are better positioned to not only stay in business, but also compete and thrive in a rapidly evolving and expanding media ecosystem.
While this change will not be a fix-all for every issue plaguing the industry, it will help them handle 21st century problems with a 21st century solution. We look forward to working with Chairman Pai and the other commissioners of the FCC to continue modernizing outdated rules, resulting in better serving consumers, enhancing businesses, and protecting taxpayers.