FCC Reinstates Pre-August 2016 Status Quo In Broadcaster Marketplace

The Federal Communications Commission voted to reinstate the so-called “UHF discount ” until the Commission can address its national television ownership rule more holistically, in a proceeding to be launched later this year. The action effectively returns the marketplace to the status quo that existed prior to August 2016, whereby stations broadcasting in the UHF spectrum are permitted to count 50 percent of the television households in their market when determining compliance with the 39 percent national cap. In August 2016, the Commission eliminated on a party-line vote the UHF discount. The Order finds that this action had the effect of substantially tightening the national cap for companies without any analysis of whether this tightening was warranted given current marketplace conditions. The FCC now concludes that the UHF discount and national television ownership cap are inextricably linked and that the Commission’s previous decision erred by getting rid of the UHF discount without simultaneously considering whether the cap itself should be modified. The Commission plans to take up both the question of the 39 percent cap and the UHF discount later this year. Until then, the action   reinstates the pre-August 2016 status quo in the marketplace.

Attachments:

Announcement [264 KB PDF]
Statement from Chairman Pai [69 KB PDF]
Statement from Commissioner Clyburn [109 KB PDF]
Statement from Commissioner O'Rielly [70 KB PDF]