[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 112 (Friday, June 11, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33227-33237]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-14099]

[[Page 33227]]



47 CFR Part 73

[MB Docket No. 09-182; FCC 10-92]

2010 Quadrennial Regulatory Review--Review of the Commission's 
Broadcast Ownership Rules and Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 
202 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The Notice of Inquiry (``NOI'') initiates the Commission's 
fifth review of its media ownership rules since the passage of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 (``1996 Act''). Section 202(h) of the 
1996 Act requires the Commission to review its ownership rules (except 
the national television ownership limit) every four years and 
``determine whether any of such rules are necessary in the public 
interest as the result of competition.'' The Commission will take a 
fresh look at its current ownership rules in order to determine whether 
they will serve our public interest goals of competition, localism, and 
diversity going forward. The Commission's challenge is to adapt its 
rules to ensure that they promote these values in the new marketplace 
and into the future.

DATES: Comments are due on or before July 12, 2010 and reply comments 
are due on or before July 26, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 09-182, 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by e-mail: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Tatel, (202) 418-2330; Amy 
Brett, (202) 418-2330.
    Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis. This document 
does not contain proposed information collection requirements subject 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, 
therefore, it does not contain any proposed information collection 
burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, 
pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 
107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Federal 
Communications Commission's NOI in MB Docket No. 09-182, FCC 10-92, 
adopted May 25, 2010, and released May 25, 2010. The full text of this 
document is available for public inspection and copying during regular 
business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications 
Commission, 445 12th Street, SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. These 
documents will also be available via ECFS (http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs). The complete text may be purchased from the Commission's copy 
contractor, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. 
To request this document in accessible formats (computer diskettes, 
large print, audio recording and Braille), send an e-mail to 
[email protected] or call the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs 
Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Summary of the NOI

    1. The NOI asks fundamental questions, the answers to which will 
help the Commission define its analytical framework, the scope of this 
proceeding, and the considerations that should underlie media ownership 
rules for today's environment. The comments and information gathered 
through this NOI will help the Commission to formulate a subsequent 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which it will invite comment on 
proposals for regulations that will best promote its policy goals in 
the context of the current media marketplace. The Commission first 
seeks a comprehensive understanding of the current media marketplace in 
order to determine whether the current ownership rules are necessary in 
the public interest as the result of competition. It will explore the 
impact its current ownership rules have on the affected industries, 
including radio, television, and, indirectly, the newspaper industry. 
If it determines that the current rules are not satisfying the public 
interest standard, it will assess the potential impact of any new or 
amended rules it might adopt. Given the profound marketplace, economic, 
and industry changes in recent years, it commences this proceeding with 
no preconceived notions about the framework that will result from this 
review or what rules it will adopt. It will examine ownership issues 
based on the record that is established in this proceeding and will 
seek to establish a forward-looking framework based on the media 
marketplace of today, not on marketplace factors as they may have 
existed in the past.
    2. The Commission will take a close look at the impact of 
consolidation on media markets. In 1996, there were 10,257 commercial 
radio stations and 5,133 radio owners. Today, there are 11,202 
commercial radio stations and 3,143 owners, representing a 39% decrease 
in the number of owners since 1996. In 1996, there were 1,130 
commercial television stations and 450 owners. In 2010, there are 1,302 
commercial stations and 303 owners, a 33% decrease in the number of 
owners. There are currently 175 television station duopolies, which 
includes owners with attributable local marketing agreements, in the 
210 Nielsen TV markets. There are roughly 50 newspaper/broadcast same-
market combinations in markets across the country.
    3. The media marketplace has seen dramatic changes in recent years. 
Broadcast audiences and newspaper readership are on the decline. Media 
industries also are experiencing declining advertising revenues, 
precipitated in part by the downturn in the national economy. Between 
2006 and 2008, advertising revenue declined 13.4% for broadcast 
television stations; advertising revenue for radio stations dropped 
10.7%; and newspaper advertising revenue dropped by 23.1%. PEJ 
estimates that between 2008 and 2009, revenues for the broadcast 
television and radio industries each fell 22% and revenues for daily 
newspapers fell 26% between 2008 and 2009. In 2009, 12 broadcast 
television and radio companies filed for bankruptcy and several 
newspaper publishers have either ceased operations or filed for 
bankruptcy protection.
    4. Newspapers and broadcasters have responded to declining revenues 
in part by cutting staff and closing news bureaus. Some newspapers have 
given up print editions altogether to concentrate exclusively on online 
operations. PEJ estimates that the newspaper industry has lost $1.6 
billion in annual reporting and editing capacity since 2000, or roughly 
30%. This contraction is accompanied by an explosion of content from 
Internet and mobile sources. Changes in technology are reshaping how 
people get their news and audio and video programming. PEJ

[[Page 33228]]

reports that 59% of Internet users now use social media and blogging 
and networking sites. PEJ reports that a sustainable business model 
currently does not exist to finance the production of online content 
and finds that even the best new media sites have limited ability to 
produce content.
    5. The Internet clearly has not wholly supplanted traditional 
media, such as broadcast stations, newspapers, and cable systems, but 
it has increased the quantity of news and programming available to 
consumers. The Commission's review must take account of the Internet's 
role and significance. It will examine how traditional media producers 
are integrating the Internet into their business models and whether 
revenues from Internet advertising can mitigate the effects of the loss 
of other advertising dollars. It will attempt to weigh and assess these 
trends and evaluate the interrelationships between the marketplace and 
the Commission's ownership rules.
    6. Views differ on the impact of the marketplace changes discussed 
above. Commenters in previous media ownership proceedings have raised 
concerns that increased consolidation places control of programming 
choices in the hands of too few owners. They have asserted that 
consolidation results in insufficient programming variety to serve the 
needs of local communities. Parties have asserted that owners of 
multiple stations in a market may reduce or cease production of local 
programming on some of their co-owned stations and instead rely on the 
news produced by their other stations or newspapers. Throughout this 
proceeding, the Commission will examine whether consolidation adversely 
affects consumers of media, advertisers, creators of content, and 
platform owners.
    7. Some believe that the economic downturn for traditional media 
will lead to reduced news coverage and a less informed citizenry. 
Others believe that the advent of new and creative sources of news 
available on the Internet will fill any gaps left by traditional news 
media. In this proceeding, the Commission will examine these issues 
fully and consider what these and other marketplace and technological 
changes mean for the regulation of media ownership. After a thorough 
review of marketplace developments, the Commission may determine that 
the current rules are serving the public interest, or we may determine 
that changes are necessary.
    8. The Commission's ownership rules must be designed to promote its 
enduring public interest goals in the marketplace of today and 
tomorrow. Historically, the Commission has formulated its ownership 
rules to benefit consumers by promoting the three principal policy 
goals of competition, localism, and diversity. The ownership rules have 
typically sought to promote these goals by limiting the numbers and 
types of media outlets a single party can own. The Commission has set 
limits on the numbers of TV and radio facilities an entity may own in 
local markets, limited the audience reach nationally of commonly owned 
television stations, and restricted the cross-ownership of broadcast 
facilities and newspapers in local markets. Through the ownership rules 
the Commission strives to ensure that owners promote programming 
responsive to local needs, including public safety information and 
quality children's programming. All of these types of programming serve 
the public interest. The Commission thus must seek to achieve a balance 
in addressing media ownership limits to ensure that consumers have 
access to these and other types of important programming. The FCC 
invites comment on how to ensure that its rules are properly calibrated 
to promote its goals under current marketplace conditions.
    9. Throughout the NOI, the FCC invites suggestions for analytical 
frameworks that will allow it to assess and balance the goals of the 
ownership review. Commenters should submit relevant data and studies to 
assist in crafting ownership rules and identify any ongoing studies or 
projects that it should take into consideration. Its goal is to have 
the broadest possible participation from all sectors of the public.
    10. Five of the Commission's media ownership rules are the subject 
of this quadrennial review: The local TV ownership rule, the local 
radio ownership rule, the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, the 
radio/TV cross-ownership rule, and the dual network rule. In 2004, 
Congress amended Section 202(h) of 1996 Act to exclude the national 
television multiple ownership rule from the Commission's quadrennial 
review obligation. What authority, if any, does the FCC retain to 
evaluate the national television multiple ownership rule set at 39% of 
television households nationwide as part of the quadrennial review or 
    11. The local television ownership rule provides that an entity may 
own two television stations in the same designated market area 
(``DMA'') only if: (1) The Grade B contours of the stations (as 
determined by 47 CFR 73.684) do not overlap, or (2) at least one of the 
stations in the combination is not ranked among the top four stations 
in terms of audience share, and at least eight independently owned-and-
operated commercial or noncommercial full-power broadcast television 
stations would remain in the DMA after the combination. To determine 
the number of voices remaining after the merger, the Commission counts 
those broadcast television stations whose Grade B signal contours 
overlap with the Grade B signal contour of at least one of the stations 
that would be commonly owned.
    12. Local Radio Ownership Rule. The local radio ownership rule 
provides that a person or entity may own, operate, or control: (1) Up 
to eight commercial radio stations, not more than five of which are in 
the same service (i.e., AM or FM), in a radio market with 45 or more 
radio stations; (2) up to seven commercial radio stations, not more 
than four of which are in the same service, in a radio market with 
between 30 and 44 (inclusive) radio stations; (3) up to six commercial 
radio stations, not more than four of which are in the same service, in 
a radio market with between 15 and 29 (inclusive) radio stations; and 
(4) up to five commercial radio stations, not more than three of which 
are in the same service, in a radio market with 14 or fewer radio 
stations, except that an entity may not own, operate, or control more 
than 50 percent of the stations in such a market unless the combination 
of stations comprises not more than one AM and one FM station.
    13. Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule. The newspaper/
broadcast cross-ownership rule adopted in 1975 prohibited common 
ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper if 
(1) A television station's Grade A service contour completely 
encompassed the newspaper's city of publication, (2) the predicted or 
measured 2 mV/m contour of an AM station completely encompassed the 
newspaper's city of publication, or (3) the predicted 1 mV/m contour 
for an FM station completely encompassed the newspaper's city of 
publication. The Commission adopted the newspaper/broadcast cross-
ownership rule ``in furtherance of our long standing policy of 
promoting diversification of ownership of the electronic mass 
communications media.'' In that Order, the Commission stated that its 
policy to promote diversity was ``derived from both First Amendment and 
anti-trust policy sources.'' In the 2006 Quadrennial Review Order, the 
Commission established presumptions for the Commission to apply in

[[Page 33229]]

determining whether a specific newspaper/broadcast combination serves 
the public interest. A waiver of the cross-ownership rule is not 
inconsistent with the public interest where (i) a daily newspaper seeks 
to combine with a radio station in a top 20 DMA, or (ii) a daily 
newspaper seeks to combine with a television station in a top 20 DMA 
and (a) the television station is not ranked among the top four 
stations in the DMA; and (b) at least eight independently owned and 
operating ``major media voices'' would remain in the DMA after the 
combination. Major media voices are defined as full-power commercial 
and noncommercial television stations and major newspapers. For markets 
below the top 20 DMAs, there is a presumption that it is inconsistent 
with the public interest for an entity to own a newspaper-broadcast 
combination. The Commission requires an applicant attempting to 
overcome this negative presumption to demonstrate, by clear and 
convincing evidence, that the merged entity will increase the diversity 
of independent news outlets and competition among independent news 
sources in the relevant market. The Commission will reverse the 
negative presumption in two limited circumstances: (i) When the 
proposed combination involves a failed/failing station or newspaper, or 
(ii) when the proposed combination is with a broadcast station that was 
not offering local newscasts prior to the combination, and the station 
will initiate at least seven hours per week of local news after the 
combination. No matter which presumption applies, the Commission's 
analysis of the following four factors will inform its review of a 
proposed combination: (1) The extent to which cross-ownership will 
serve to increase the amount of local news disseminated through the 
affected media outlets in the combination; (2) whether each affected 
media outlet in the combination will exercise its own independent news 
judgment; (3) the level of concentration in the DMA; and (4) the 
financial condition of the newspaper or broadcast station, and if the 
newspaper or broadcast station is in financial distress, the owner's 
commitment to invest significantly in newsroom operations.
    14. Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule. The radio/television 
cross-ownership rule allows a party to own up to two television 
stations (to the extent permitted under the local television ownership 
rule) and up to six radio stations (to the extent permitted under the 
local radio ownership rule) in a market where at least 20 independently 
owned media voices would remain post-merger. In markets where parties 
may own a combination of two television stations and six radio 
stations, the rule allows a party alternatively to own one television 
station and seven radio stations. A party may own up to two television 
stations (where permitted under the current local television ownership 
rule) and up to four radio stations (where permitted under the local 
radio ownership rule) in markets where, post-merger, at least 10 
independently owned media voices would remain. The rule allows a 
combination of two television stations (where permitted under the local 
television ownership rule) and one radio station regardless of the 
number of voices remaining in the market.
    15. The Dual Network Rule. The Commission's dual network rule 
permits common ownership of multiple broadcast networks, but prohibits 
a merger between or among the ``top four'' networks (that is, ABC, CBS, 
Fox, and NBC).
    16. In analyzing the policy goals, the Commission will consider 
their relationship to four groups of participants in the media 
marketplace, each of which may be affected by the ownership rules: (1) 
Consumers of media or ``end users,'' i.e., viewers, listeners, and 
readers; (2) advertisers; (3) creators of content; and (4) platform 
owners, i.e., media distributors, including broadcasters, newspapers, 
and cable systems. The FCC seeks comment on how to (1) Define the 
policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity; (2) determine how 
best to promote these goals in today's media market; (3) analyze the 
relevance of the policy goals to each of the four groups of market 
participants identified; (4) measure whether particular ownership 
structures promote these goals; (5) determine whether any new or 
revised rules would promote these goals; (6) determine when a goal has 
been achieved; and (7) balance the goals when they conflict with each 
other. Are there other goals to consider? To inform the policy 
decisions, it seeks relevant data and studies about the levels of 
competition, localism, and diversity in a variety of media markets, 
including small and large markets, consolidated and unconsolidated 
markets, markets with existing cross-ownership, and markets without 
cross-ownership. Are there existing public or proprietary datasets that 
the FCC should obtain? Are there ongoing studies or projects to 
consider? It also seeks comment on the extent to which the policy goals 
are quantifiable. Are there alternative bases for analysis, including, 
for example, theoretical analysis, modeling, or simulations?
    17. The Section 202(h) statutory directive directly links the 
Commission's review of the media ownership rules to ensuring that media 
markets are competitive. The Commission invites comment on how to 
define the competition goal in today's media marketplace. What 
analytical approaches should it employ to determine whether common 
ownership of multiple media outlets increases or decreases competition?
    18. In order to evaluate the performance of the media marketplace, 
how should the Commission measure the current level of competition in 
that marketplace? It seeks to assess the competitive performance of the 
relevant markets, not of particular firms, and is particularly 
interested in proposed definitions of relevant product and geographic 
markets. They directly impact the applicability of media ownership 
limits because product market definitions determine which entities 
compete with each other and thus, how many media outlets are in a 
market. A narrow product market definition could limit ownership if 
limits are based on market size. Previously, the Commission's 
competition analysis has focused on whether the rules result in lower 
prices, higher output, more choices for buyers, and more technological 
progress than would be the case if markets were unregulated. Are these 
still the relevant competitive factors to consider? Are there other 
factors? Is the competition goal best conceptualized as economic 
    19. How should the Commission measure whether its ownership rules 
enhance competition in a way that benefits consumers? As noted above, 
traditional competitive analysis focuses on price, quality, and 
innovation. Indeed, competition is not an end in itself but a means to 
advance consumer welfare. Because broadcast radio and television 
content is available for free to end users, we cannot use price in 
analyzing competition for listeners and viewers. Are there potential 
proxies for consumer welfare?
    20. The Commission has found that competition among broadcast 
outlets is likely to benefit consumers by making available programming 
that meets consumers' preferences. Is this still the case today? Should 
the Commission seek to determine whether consumers are getting the 
content they want from broadcast media? If consumer satisfaction is an 
important metric for assessing the state of our competition

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goal with regard to consumers, how should it be measured?
    21. How useful is survey research for assessing end user 
satisfaction with the range of content provided in the local market? 
Alternatively, would it be useful to look at empirical and theoretical 
analyses of competition in other markets to gather information about 
what market structures, as reflected by the number of firms competing 
in a market and market share distribution generally, result in a 
competitive market structure? Could it apply such a figure to the media 
    22. Are there more easily measurable proxies for consumer 
satisfaction, such as media utilization? What about factors such as 
increases or decreases in utilization to determine satisfaction? If 
there is an increase in video programming consumption on the Internet 
(measured by minutes of use) and a decrease in such consumption via 
broadcast stations, is that a relevant factor in determining consumer 
satisfaction for purposes of evaluating our competition goal? What 
weight should be given to consumer choices in obtaining media content, 
as revealed by actual behavior?
    23. What is the best way to measure consumer satisfaction among 
particular demographic groups, such as women, racial and ethnic 
minorities, non-English speakers, and people with disabilities? What is 
the nexus between media ownership and whether or not a particular 
demographic group within a designated market area is being served by 
available broadcast media platforms?
    24. The Commission also seeks comment on the degree to which 
various media providers compete for consumers and how to measure this. 
Can consumers easily switch among different forms of media without 
suffering a loss in satisfaction? If not, what are the trade-offs among 
the levels of satisfaction and the forms of media among which they may 
switch? Should it analyze the television and radio markets separately 
or jointly? Do consumers consider radio and television to be 
substitutes in choosing any service and, if so, for what services? Do 
television stations adjust the content that they provide in response to 
changes in content delivered over radio stations and vice versa? How do 
radio and television respond to competition for consumers from other 
platforms such as the Internet or mobile devices?
    25. Should promoting competition in advertising markets be one of 
the goals of the ownership rules? How should it measure the state of 
competition in advertising markets? Should it consider performance 
metrics that are broader than price, or should it rely on traditional 
competitive analysis? How should it define the relevant product and 
geographic markets? What is the appropriate analytical framework that 
would implement the framework suggested by commenters.
    26. While end user prices for broadcast radio and television do not 
exist, advertising prices are available, making it possible to do a 
traditional competitive analysis of advertising markets. Historically, 
the Commission has relied on assessments of competition in advertising 
markets as a proxy for consumer welfare in media markets. Does the 
state of competition in the advertising market provide a useful 
indicator of the state of competition for end users? Does an efficient 
competitive advertising market ensure that all end users have choices 
that are relevant to their interests and their particular cultures? If 
the advertising market is found to be competitive, can the Commission 
then infer that the menu of content broadcasters provide is doing a 
good job of attracting the demographic groups in which advertisers are 
interested? Are certain demographic groups underserved in the media 
market, or is competition in the advertising market a sufficient 
indicator that its competition policy goal with respect to all 
consumers is being satisfied?
    27. Media markets have been considered ``two-sided markets,'' in 
which platforms use content to bring together consumers on one side and 
advertisers on the other side. How should the Commission take this 
structure into account? How do differences in the program preferences 
of viewers and advertisers affect the competition policy goal, and how 
would it balance those preferences if they are not compatible?
    28. How should it assess the impact of the ownership rules on 
content creators? Platform owners purchase content from creators in the 
programming market. To what extent should competition for content among 
platforms be a goal? Should competition in the programming market be a 
goal as an end in itself, beyond the effect it has on consumers and 
advertisers? If so, why? Can competition in the programming market be 
fully measured by observing performance metrics in the consumer and 
advertising segments, or should the Commission develop different 
    29. Should the ownership rules seek to promote competition among 
distribution platform owners as an end in itself, apart from any 
impacts on the other groups of market participants? Does the race, 
gender, or ethnicity of platform owners affect the interests of 
consumers, advertisers, or content creators, and how? How does the 
Commission assess and measure the significance of competition in 
platform ownership?
    30. How should the Commission address different effects on 
different groups? Should it require efficiencies to be passed through 
to end users (in the form of more and/or better content) or to 
advertisers (in the form of a more efficient advertising market with 
better demographic targeting and/or lower prices) before concluding 
that they contribute to policy goals? To what extent should the 
analysis of the impact of market structure on media market participants 
differ in the context of unserved and underserved communities? What, if 
any, changes to the media ownership rules could promote minority and 
female ownership of broadcast stations? What marketplace or other 
factors would encourage new entry by minorities and/or females? Does 
consolidation hinder such ownership or does the opportunity to obtain 
efficiencies of scale and scope help promote growth and better public 
service by minority and female owners?
    31. Consumers of broadcast video content also have choices for 
video programming among hundreds of cable channels and on many Internet 
sites such as hulu.com, fancast.com, abc.com, fox.com, and available 
for download at Netflix.com and at iTunes. Some of the Internet sites 
provide free content viewable with online commercial interruptions; 
some provide fee-only content; and others offer content only to their 
subscribers or members. Consumers of broadcast radio can choose also 
among over 100 audio channels carried by satellite radio, downloadable 
podcasts, audio streaming, and other audio entertainment available in 
cars, on mobile devices, and on computers. What is the impact of such 
changes on the economic viability of broadcasters, including 
specifically the viability of their local news and public affairs 
programming, in terms of the cost of production and resulting station 
revenue from such programming? Do new media provide opportunities for 
entry by minorities and females?
    32. In what ways does competition from the Internet affect the 
financial condition of broadcasters? What are the consequences of the 
current challenges that traditional media face in monetizing their 
content on the Internet? How should the current financial and other 
problems being

[[Page 33231]]

faced by newspapers factor into analysis? What role have debt and 
profit margins played in the current media structure? Are there other 
anticipated near-term marketplace changes that should affect the 
    33. Are there unique attributes of broadcasting that should define 
and measure broadcast competition without reference to other media? If 
not, what other media should the FCC consider as it assesses 
competition in the relevant markets and measures performance? The FCC 
invites comment on how to define and promote localism in the context of 
the media ownership rules. How does ownership structure affect 
localism? The Commission has relied on two measures to determine 
whether licensees are meeting their local programming requirements: (1) 
The selection of programming responsive to local needs and interests of 
broadcasters' communities of license, and (2) local news quantity and 
responsiveness. Does the traditional localism goal need to be redefined 
in today's media marketplace?
    34. The FCC seeks comment on what performance metrics to use to 
analyze the relevance of the localism goal for each group of market 
participants in determining whether the ownership rules are in the 
public interest. How should the Commission define and measure localism 
as it applies to consumers? One approach is to measure programming of 
interest to the community in general and local news and public affairs 
programming in particular. Such programming could be evaluated based on 
the quantity of programming responsive to local needs and interests, 
which would largely continue the traditional approach. What programming 
should be deemed responsive to the community, and how should it be 
defined and measured? What sources of content should the Commission 
consider? Should it measure the quantity of local content by time or 
space devoted to issues, stories, programs or articles, the total 
number of these, or some combination thereof?
    35. Are there other ways of measuring the extent to which the 
localism goal is being achieved in today's media marketplace? Would a 
survey on citizen consumption of, and satisfaction with, local content 
be a useful measure? Is the satisfaction of local end users (viewers, 
listeners, or readers) an adequate measure of whether locally oriented 
programming adequately serves local needs? If so, what is a proper 
gauge of audience satisfaction with locally oriented content? If 
consumers are satisfied with the amount and responsiveness of local 
content, does that signify that the media ownership rules are 
successfully promoting localism?
    36. Alternatively, should it examine local programming inputs, such 
as the number of local journalists, the number of local news bureaus, 
or expenditures on local news and public affairs, either in absolute 
terms or as a percentage of total revenues or expenditures? Would such 
inputs to local programming content be a useful performance metric? Are 
such inputs a valid proxy for the responsiveness of local programming?
    37. Should it consider consumers' interest in locally oriented 
programming? How should the extent of consumer demand for free, local 
content factor into the media ownership rules? For instance, if ratings 
for local news broadcasts have declined over the years, should that 
affect any emphasis on the goal of localism? Alternatively, is the 
provision of local news programming socially valuable in itself, 
regardless of variations in consumer interest in such programming? If 
so, would measures of civic engagement such as voter turnout or civic 
knowledge be useful to measure?
    38. How should it define and measure localism as it applies to 
historically underserved minority communities? What is the best 
approach to measuring satisfaction among particular demographic groups 
with the quantity and effectiveness of locally-oriented programming? 
Are there aspects of localism that are relevant specifically to 
minority communities? Are there particular types of programming, 
including news and informational programming, which are specifically 
relevant to minority communities? If so, how should such programming be 
defined and measured?
    39. Should the Commission consider radio and television (and other 
content platforms such as newspapers, cable, and the Internet) as 
separate product markets or as a single product market for purposes of 
achieving our localism goal? How should it account for nonbroadcast 
distribution outlets for locally oriented programming? How should it 
account for new media, both in terms of metrics and the impact of new 
media on traditional media? Does the Internet play a role in the 
promotion of localism by providing a unique forum for communities and 
local organizations to share information on niche topics and community-
oriented information not provided by other media platforms? What about 
hyper-local and free community group Web sites? What weight should they 
be given? While not all consumers have broadband Internet access, 
information first reported on the Internet--through local blogs, Web 
sites, listservs and similar online sources--may be picked up by the 
traditional media and further disseminated to non-users of the 
Internet. Is that a relevant factor?
    40. Do most local news originate from traditional media sources, 
such as broadcasting and newspapers? How heavily should origination 
factor into analysis? How should any measure of quantity account for 
re-broadcasting or re-purposing of content? Does the current prevalent 
business model for traditional media, in which many companies provide 
free Internet content, have any adverse effect on the quantity or 
responsiveness of local content provided? Should the Commission 
consider mobile platforms in its analysis? Consumers increasingly use 
smart phones and other mobile devices to access up-to-date information 
on local school events and closings, local weather, and local civic 
information. Consumers also are using mobile devices to deliver news 
and information through social networking Web sites. Should we consider 
consumer-to-consumer information in our analysis?
    41. Should the Commission seek to promote localism with regard to 
the advertising sector of media markets? Is there a policy reason for 
the Commission to promote local advertisers' access to local media? If 
there is such a policy concern, can it be addressed by ensuring that 
the advertising market is competitive?
    42. Should the Commission consider content creators in deciding 
whether the ownership rules are necessary to advance localism? Does 
locally produced or originated content make a particular contribution 
toward the localism goal, and, if so, how should it define ``local 
production'' or ``origination'' in today's media marketplace. What 
entities should qualify as local content creators? How should it 
measure the quantity and responsiveness of locally oriented and 
produced content?
    43. Should the Commission consider platform owners in deciding 
whether the ownership rules are necessary to advance localism? Is local 
ownership a goal in itself or simply a means to foster the provision of 
local programming to consumers? Are there differences in the amount and 
responsiveness of local content provided in markets where there are 
significant numbers of locally owned and/or managed stations as opposed 
to markets characterized by nonlocal owners and/or managers?
    44. How does market structure affects localism in all of these 
respects? Is there any particular ownership structure that

[[Page 33232]]

would best promote the localism goal? Does combined ownership of 
outlets within a platform, such as in radio alone, or across platforms, 
such as with respect to radio/television cross-ownership or newspaper/
broadcast cross-ownership, promote or hinder the localism goal? 
Commenters should provide predictive evidence as to how any proposed 
changes in any ownership rule (whether the change be an elimination, 
relaxation, or tightening of an ownership rule or even a waiver or 
grandfathering of noncompliance with a rule) would likely affect the 
amount, quality, and/or diversity of the local news, public affairs 
programming and other information in the community affected by the 
change. Is there a difference in the degree to which the localism goal 
is achieved in markets with many single station owners versus markets 
in which multiple station ownership is more common? Is there any 
difference in markets where a TV station or radio station is co-owned 
with a newspaper as opposed to ones that are not? Please submit any 
relevant studies or data with respect to these issues.
    45. How should the Commission define diversity? The Commission 
historically has approached the diversity goal from five perspectives--
program diversity, viewpoint diversity, source diversity, outlet 
diversity, and minority and female ownership diversity. In this NOI, it 
seeks comment on the relative importance of each of these aspects of 
diversity. The Commission seeks to refine the performance metrics and 
thresholds used to judge how well the current rules operate to achieve 
the diversity goal. How does their use comport with the values and 
principles embodied in the First Amendment? Commenters should support 
their comments with sound empirical evidence demonstrating a link 
between structural rules and the diversity goal.
    46. What is the proper geographic area and the proper product 
market within which to analyze the achievement of the diversity goal? 
The Commission tentatively concludes that the appropriate geographic 
unit is an area within which, roughly speaking, all citizens have the 
same range of media choices. It seeks comment on this tentative 
conclusion. Do existing geographic market definitions satisfy this 
criterion? Are there any reasons to evaluate diversity on a national 
level for some facets of diversity?
    47. Should the Commission apply performance metrics for the 
diversity goal that aggregate all media outlets in a geographic area or 
that separate outlets of each media type? Do particular types of media 
contribute more than others to particular aspects of diversity? Should 
it analyze local television and radio separately? Should it consider 
only content aired on broadcast outlets or are other platforms relevant 
as well? How should it take account of the vast number of channels and 
range of content available via cable television, satellite television, 
and the Internet? Which media, if any, are close enough substitutes to 
be considered in the same ``product market?'' The costs associated with 
cable television, satellite television, and the Internet (including 
paying for the connection and for necessary home equipment) put some 
services out of reach for some segments of the population. How should 
that be accounted for? If it concludes that the Internet provides the 
capability to distribute a nearly limitless variety of content, which 
facets of the diversity goal would be satisfied? Focusing on the 
Internet, how should it assess the importance of Internet news blogs 
and aggregators, such as the Huffington Post or the Drudge Report? Do 
aggregators contribute to media market diversity, even if they produce 
little or no original content? Commenters should submit studies and 
data that evaluate the significance of the Internet in formulating 
media ownership regulation.
    48. The FCC previously has concluded that program diversity, which 
refers to the variety of programming formats and content, is promoted 
by competition among media outlets. Is competition among media outlets 
the optimal way to achieve program diversity generally? Viewed this 
way, a market structure that provides an acceptable level of 
competition would also be considered to provide an acceptable level of 
program diversity. Does increased competition among independently owned 
media outlets always lead to increased program diversity? Are there 
situations in which concentrated ownership increases program diversity? 
Is it possible to obtain an objective measure of program diversity? Are 
the performance metrics suggested above in connection with the 
competition goal (e.g., consumer satisfaction, media utilization) 
adequate for this task? If additional performance metrics are 
necessary, what would they be and how should they be collected?
    49. There are certain types of programming that the Commission 
historically considers to promote the public interest that we would 
consider in our analysis of diverse programming. For instance, the 
Commission requires broadcast licensees to provide programming designed 
to educate and inform children and to protect children from excessive 
and inappropriate commercial messages. What is the impact of market 
structure on the availability of such programming?
    50. Viewpoint diversity refers to the availability of media content 
reflecting a variety of perspectives. How should it measure the level 
of viewpoint diversity? Is there an objective measure of viewpoint 
diversity? Should it attempt to measure viewpoint diversity through an 
analysis or census of available content? Are news and public affairs 
programs the only relevant sources of viewpoint diversity? How should 
it define news and public affairs programming? For example, is 
``Entertainment Tonight'' or ``The Daily Show'' news programming? Can 
it make such judgments consistent with the First Amendment?
    51. As an alternative to measuring the ``supply'' of content to 
assess viewpoint diversity, should it take a ``demand side'' approach 
and utilize measures of audience satisfaction and media consumption as 
proxies for viewpoint diversity? How do differences in the number of 
independent media outlets in an area affect diversity? Do multi-outlet 
news content providers contribute more or less to viewpoint diversity 
than singly owned outlets? How does platform ownership and market 
structure influence viewpoint diversity? Do markets with more 
independent owners provide more divergent viewpoints on controversial 
issues? Alternatively, are there benefits of combined ownership, even 
though it reduces the number of independent owners in a market? Can 
combined ownership benefit consumers by allowing economies of scale or 
scope that can benefit end users by enabling broadcasters to provide 
more diverse programming? In particular, does consolidated ownership 
enable owners to provide more news programs that represent wide-ranging 
viewpoints? Does the existence of multiple independent decision makers 
(sometimes referred to as ``gatekeepers'') increase the likelihood that 
all significant viewpoints will be delivered to the public by at least 
one local outlet? To what extent does consolidated ownership affect the 
ability of nonaffiliated/independent small companies or women/minority-
owned companies that produce programming to get their programming on 
the air? What effect, if any, has consolidated ownership had on the 
availability of a variety of diverse viewpoints to women and minority 
consumers? Are women and minorities increasing their

[[Page 33233]]

ownership levels in companies that are content providers or in other 
aspects of media production aside from station ownership?
    52. Source diversity refers to the availability of media content 
from a variety of content creators. What role does source diversity 
play? Is source diversity an end in itself or simply a means to 
achieving other diversity goals? Would an appropriate level of outlet 
diversity obviate any separate concerns about source diversity? How 
should it measure the level of source diversity? Is the availability of 
independent content creators a measure of source diversity? If so, how 
should it define ``independent content creator''? Is source diversity 
important for all types of programming? What role should consumer 
satisfaction or media consumption play in evaluating source diversity? 
Do the responses to these questions change according to whether the 
focus is on the airing of local news, public affairs programming or 
other information?
    53. Outlet diversity refers in part to the number of independently 
owned media outlets in a relevant market. Many of our ownership rules 
have been stated in terms of the number of independent media ``voices'' 
in relevant local markets. Should one of the Commission's goals in 
prescribing media ownership rules be to promote more independent owners 
in the platform sector of the media marketplace? Should it view outlet 
diversity as an instrument for ensuring other types of diversity, such 
as viewpoint and source diversity, or as an end itself? How should it 
measure the relationship between diverse ownership and our other 
diversity metrics?
    54. Another aspect of outlet diversity is the ownership of 
platforms by diverse individuals and entities, including minorities, 
women, and small businesses. What was the impact of the relaxation of 
the radio ownership limits mandated by Congress in 1996 on minority and 
female ownership of radio stations, and what studies have been done 
documenting that impact? Does the FCC's structural media ownership 
rules have an effect on broadcast ownership by minorities, women, and 
small businesses? What is the relationship between diversity of 
broadcast ownership and viewpoint diversity? Commenters should support 
their views with data, studies, and analysis. Should the ownership 
rules be used to promote diverse types of broadcast owners and, if so, 
how can the Commission pursue this goal in a manner consistent with the 
Constitution and relevant case law?
    55. The Commission recognizes that there may be tension among the 
goals of competition, localism, and diversity. For example, proposed 
transactions may generate efficiencies and enhance program offerings 
but reduce the number of independent media owners, viewpoint diversity, 
minority ownership, or localism. How should it weigh our competition, 
localism, and diversity goals when they conflict? Should it set minimum 
thresholds for each goal and permit consolidation as long as the 
thresholds are met? Should any of the ownership rules be designed to 
serve one or two goals, rather than all three goals? Are any of our 
goals more important in regulating some media sectors than others?
    56. Should it apply different performance cutoffs or different 
trade-offs across goals in different-sized markets? Should the 
competition goal outweigh the diversity of ownership goal in certain 
instances? Does the impact of consolidation differ between small 
markets and large markets? For instance, does market size affect 
whether consolidation results in more or less local or diverse news and 
public affairs programming? Should it measure performance on an 
absolute level or proportionally to market size? For instance, should 
it consider hours of local news and public affairs programming per 
100,000 households in the market as opposed to hours of local news in 
the market?
    57. Are there other policy goals, in addition to competition, 
diversity, and localism to consider, in determining ownership limits in 
this proceeding? If so, what other goals, why are they important and 
appropriate to consider from a statutory perspective in this 
proceeding? Should the Commission consider the impact of its media 
ownership rules on the availability to all Americans of news and 
information, not only local but also national news and information? The 
Commission separately has issued a Public Notice to invite comment on 
various issues relating to the information needs of communities. The 
issues raised in that notice are interrelated to issues raised in this 
ownership proceeding although the focus of this proceeding is narrower, 
since the Commission concentrated here only on our media ownership 
rules. Should it consider the impact of our ownership rules on 
investigative journalism? If so, should the Commission consider only 
investigative journalism in broadcast media or across all media? If 
commenters believe that it should undertake such an examination in this 
proceeding, it invites comment on whether revising multiple ownership 
rules is necessary to preserve or enhance the availability of news and 
information and journalism, and, if so, what specific measures should 
be taken to promote these goals.
    58. The Commission invites comment, supported by empirical or other 
available evidence, on each of the current ownership rules described 
above, and whether it satisfies the statutory standard. For each of the 
current ownership rules reviewed in this proceeding, it seeks comment 
on how the rule affects the local market structure and in turn impacts 
the Commission's policy goals. Commenters should propose specific 
analytical frameworks for linking the ownership rules to the policy 
goals discussed above and measuring the impact of the rules on the 
policy goals. Would it be useful to target particular rules to 
particular goals, for example, to use the local television and radio 
ownership rules to advance the competition goal and the cross-ownership 
rules to advance the diversity and localism goals? Are there any 
changes it should make to the rules to promote the goals more 
effectively? Do the current numerical limits set forth in the ownership 
rules continue to be necessary to serve our competition, localism, and 
diversity goals? If it decides to retain the current limits, how should 
it justify them? Commenters who believe that the current rules do not 
promote competition, localism, and diversity should propose specific 
modifications to these rules or describe in detail an alternative 
framework that would better promote our goals. Commenters should 
support their contentions with empirical evidence and explain how their 
recommended approaches would affect the various stakeholders, such as 
end users, advertisers, content creators, and platform owners. 
Commenters also should raise any additional pertinent issues with 
respect to each of these rules beyond those on which they are 
specifically invited to comment. Commenters who seek modification of 
the rules should address how to ensure that any revisions to the rules 
are consistent with the courts' decisions reviewing earlier Commission 
media ownership orders. For example, what evidentiary bases and what 
methodological approaches would enable the Commission to provide a 
reasoned analysis that would be adequate to satisfy judicial scrutiny 
of any numerical limits it may adopt?
    59. The Commission invites commenters who advocate retention of the 
current ownership rule structure, with or without modification, to 
address the following specific questions about

[[Page 33234]]

the rules: With regard to the local television ownership rule, does the 
eight-voices test continue to serve our goals? How does the eight-
voices requirement promote competition, diversity, and localism? Should 
it continue to count only full-power television stations as voices, or 
should a broader or narrower set of voices be considered? What media 
should be considered when determining the number of voices in a market 
in applying this rule? Are there other criteria to use to determine 
what to count as a voice in a given market? Does the current 
prohibition of mergers among the top-four-rated television stations in 
a market continue to serve the policy goals? While the Grade B contour 
no longer exists in the digital world, is an overlap provision or some 
resort to contours still necessary? Should it make changes to the 
failed/failing station waiver standard? Should it account for market 
share other than through the prohibition of a merger among the top-four 
rated stations? Are there any other aspects of the local television 
ownership rule that should be revised. Commenters should evaluate the 
local television ownership rule in the context of the larger 
marketplace for delivered video. What is the impact on television 
broadcast programming of competition among MVPDs, and how should it 
consider this impact in the context of the local television ownership 
rule? Does the 1996 Act require the Commission to maintain competition 
among television broadcasters or between broadcasters and other video 
providers, or both? Is it necessary also to look separately at the 
broadcast television market? Would consolidation of television station 
ownership in local markets provide more and better programming? Would 
permitting one entity to own more television stations in a local market 
enable the broadcast television service to compete more effectively 
with MVPDs? Would such combined ownership benefit viewers and/or 
advertisers through a strengthened competitive position? Is relaxation 
of the rule warranted in smaller markets to help broadcasters compete 
with other MVPDs and achieve economies of scale that can allow 
provision of more responsive and diverse programming to consumers? 
Television broadcasters assemble their streams of content through a 
combination of in-house production and outside sources. How does the 
local market structure of television station ownership affect the 
market for acquiring content? Would significant consolidation of 
television stations in a local market have the potential to harm 
program syndicators that sell their programming directly to individual 
local stations? Can the local television ownership rule affect this 
market and, if so, how should it take account of this effect in 
crafting the local television ownership rule? The current limit may not 
be reached in particular markets. How can it account for under-limit 
situations when predicting the effect of changes in the rules on 
achievement of the goals?
    60. Are the current numerical limits appropriate to achieve the 
goals of the local radio ownership rule? The local radio ownership rule 
currently distinguishes between AM and FM services. Does it continue to 
make sense to have sub-caps for the two services? Have recent 
technological advances eliminated the need for this aspect of the rule? 
What part should low-power FM stations play in the rule? Should it 
account for other sources of audio programming in applying the rule? 
Should the degree of consolidation of other media in the local market 
be a factor in the rule, or should it continue to count only the number 
of radio stations in a market in applying the rule? Should this rule 
take account of market share?
    61. With regard to the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, 
should the Commission treat newspaper-television combinations 
differently from newspaper-radio combinations, as we do in the 2006 
presumptive standard? Are some goals or metrics more relevant for one 
or the other type of combinations? Are particular market participants 
more heavily affected by the rule? Which elements of market structure 
are most important for measuring the effects of this rule on the policy 
goals? Would relaxing the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule 
result in economies of scale and scope that could help newspapers to 
survive? Alternatively, do the problems faced by newspapers result from 
extraneous factors that make relief in this area irrelevant? For 
example, statistics show that fewer people are reading newspapers and, 
instead, are increasingly getting news and information from 
nontraditional sources. Statistics also demonstrate an increase in the 
degree of penetration of new media, including online websites, and 
social media. Given the fragmentation of sources of news, would 
structural relief help newspapers sufficiently to result in a net gain 
in local news and information? Should any such relief operate via a 
revised rule or via a waiver standard? If the latter, what type of 
waiver standard should be applicable? Is the presumptive standard 
adopted in the 2006 Quadrennial Review Order able to further the 
competition, diversity, and localism goals as well as result in 
economies of scale and scope that could help newspapers survive? Is a 
rule that relies on presumptions preferable in order to achieve the 
goals? What factors should a relaxed rule or waiver standard take into 
account? Should any relaxation of the rule continue to account for the 
number of voices in a community? For instance, is there a basis in the 
current marketplace for finding that cross-ownerships only in the 
largest markets would be in the public interest? Should it take into 
account market share of the media entities that would be combined? If 
the number of voices is relevant, how should voices be defined for this 
    62. With regard to the radio/television cross-ownership rule, are 
the current procedures for counting voices in a market achieving the 
goals or should they be modified? Have recent technological 
developments had an impact on the voices that should be counted when 
applying the rule? Does the current rule for counting voices make sense 
in today's media marketplace? If so, do the media voices considered in 
this rule's voice count adequately encompass relevant media outlets? 
How should the Commission justify a decision to retain the particular 
numerical limits contained in the current rule? What type of waiver 
standard should be applicable?
    63. Would the dual network rule be more effective if it targeted 
mergers among networks with specific characteristics rather than 
specifically targeting mergers among the four major networks? If so, 
what characteristics should it consider, and how should it measure 
them? Would a merger between or among any of the top-four broadcast 
networks harm competition in the program acquisition market? How does 
the Commission balance any conflicting goals underlying this rule? What 
is the appropriate metrics to use in analyzing the competitive effects 
of the dual network rule on the program acquisition market? Should the 
Commission measure shares of expenditures on video entertainment 
programming? Is the dual network rule necessary to protect competition 
in the national advertising market? What metrics should the Commission 
use to make this determination? Should it rely on measurements of the 
shares of national advertising?
    64. If the Commission finds that the existing media ownership rules 
are no longer necessary in the public interest

[[Page 33235]]

as the result of competition, it must modify or eliminate the rules. If 
it modifies the rules, should it use a bright line approach or adopt an 
alternative approach, such as analyzing changes in ownership on a case-
by-case basis, or a hybrid of the two? What are benefits and 
disadvantages of bright line rules versus a case-by-case approach? 
Proponents of bright line rules should discuss why to maintain such an 
approach and should address the questions, asked above, as to whether 
any modifications should nonetheless be made to the current rules. For 
example, should the Commission retain numerical limits affecting 
ownership of radio stations but revise the current limits? 
Alternatively, should it adopt a new rule structure? Proponents of a 
case-by-case approach should discuss whether there are certain 
ownership rules that are particularly suited to a case-specific review 
process, or whether a case-by-case approach should be applied to all 
the ownership rules.
    65. If it is determined that the existing rules are not necessary 
in the public interest as the result of competition, should the 
Commission adopt a broad cross-media approach to media ownership? Such 
an approach could replace in whole or in part the focus of each of the 
current rules on specific types of broadcast outlets. What are the 
costs and benefits of outlet-specific rules as compared to rules that 
apply to all media together? Would a broad cross-media approach be 
consistent with the relevant court cases that have reviewed the 
Commission's ownership rules? When discussing possible approaches to 
structuring the ownership rules, commenters should address 
compatibility of the rules with the court remands in Sinclair, 
Prometheus, and Lamprecht. Do the holdings in these cases limit the 
Commission's ability to adopt specific ownership limits? Do the 
holdings require the Commission to consider any specific factors going 
forward? Do these cases suggest that a particular approach to ownership 
regulation is more likely than others to satisfy the courts?
    66. Would maintaining bright line rules advance the policy goals? 
What are the benefits or negative consequences of retaining the current 
approach? Do bright line rules adequately take into consideration 
today's media marketplace? Do bright line rules promote efficiency in 
license transfers and in planning business transactions? Are lenders 
more likely to provide financing in a climate of regulatory certainty? 
Are there other benefits to consider in maintaining bright line rules? 
Conversely, bright line rules do not fully account for either changing 
economic conditions within a particular local market or all of the 
variations that may exist across markets. The fairness and 
predictability of bright line rules must be weighed against their 
inflexibility and insensitivity to particular circumstances. To what 
extent does the possibility of waivers mitigate any disadvantages of 
bright line rules? Are there other disadvantages of bright line rules 
to be considered?
    67. Alternatively, should the Commission adopt a case-by-case 
approach instead of adopting new or revised bright line rules? A case-
by-case approach allows room for consideration of individual 
circumstances, thereby increasing the likelihood that a decision with 
respect to a specific transaction will best serve a particular market. 
A comprehensive review of all the relevant variables in a local market 
permits a regulator to render a decision that is appropriate for that 
market at that time. The flexibility of a case-by-case approach is an 
advantage in the dynamic and rapidly evolving media marketplace. Are 
there other advantages of a case-by-case approach?
    68. A case-by-case approach also has disadvantages. It can make the 
decisionmaking process less predictable, which can generate 
uncertainty, posing challenges for market participants and their 
lenders. In addition, a complicated set of precedents can evolve from a 
case-by-case approach, compounding uncertainty and confusion for market 
participants. A compelling set of facts in a particular situation can 
lead to an unexpected exception or introduce new variables to be 
considered. Over time, simply understanding the precedents may become a 
daunting task. The administrative burdens associated with a case-by-
case approach are high relative to a bright line approach. A 
comprehensive review process that accounts for the particular 
conditions of a local market can prolong decisionmaking and thus chill 
market activity. Are there other disadvantages to a case-by-case 
    69. Should the Commission adopt a hybrid of the two approaches for 
any or all of the ownership rules? For example, a hybrid rule (such as 
the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule as modified by the 
Commission in the 2006 ownership review) could define parameters that 
predict a likely outcome in most cases while allowing room, within 
specified guidelines, for an analysis of individual circumstances. 
Commenters are asked to explain how their recommended approaches would 
affect the various stakeholders, such as end users, advertisers, 
content creators, and platforms.
    70. Should any of the ownership rules incorporate additional 
factors to be considered when the Commission reviews assignment and 
transfer applications? Additional factors could potentially include 
local economic and financial conditions, the applicant's financial 
status and ability to access capital, the size of the local market, the 
size of the applicant, the holdings of the applicant's competitors in 
the market, the applicant's audience ratings and/or advertising 
revenues, the applicant's history of promoting innovation, or the 
effects of the digital television transition. Some of our media 
ownership rules already incorporate some of these factors. Proponents 
of a hybrid approach should explain which factors they believe should 
be considered and why and how the Commission should take those factors 
into account. Should certain factors weigh more heavily than others? 
Opponents of such an approach should explain why the Commission should 
not have the flexibility to take these types of factors into account.
    71. If the Commission determines that the existing rules are no 
longer necessary in the public interest as the result of competition, 
should the Commission adopt a broad cross-media approach to regulating 
media ownership? Such an approach would look at all conditions in a 
geographic market in determining the degree of permissible combined 
ownership in that market. What are the benefits or disadvantages of 
adopting rules that consider all media in a market together? Would a 
cross-media approach better account for changes in the media 
marketplace and today's market realities? What parameters should we use 
to measure such an approach? How should it define the market, and what 
components of the media marketplace should the Commission take into 
    72. How should the FCC adjust its rules to account for 
technological changes that are reshaping how people are getting their 
news and public affairs information? Should the Commission's rule 
structure account for all major sources of news and public affairs 
information? What sources should be included? If there is a decline in 
demand for mainstream news media, should it take that into 
consideration? How should the rules account for trends in the news 
    73. If it does consider other sources of news, how should it treat 
new media outlets that are owned by traditional media sources? Should 
the Commission

[[Page 33236]]

treat Web sites owned by traditional media companies differently from 
independently owned Web sites? How should it treat online aggregators 
that do not engage in significant original content production 
themselves, but rather provide selective access to content created by 
other online content providers and/or traditional media sources? How 
should it treat other types of arrangements for shared news sources? 
How do shared news services affect the coverage of local events? Are 
these arrangements permissible under the cross-ownership rules and 
should they be?
    74. In the 2002 Biennial Review Order, the Commission attempted a 
cross-media approach to media ownership by developing a ``diversity 
index.'' The Third Circuit vacated and remanded that aspect of the 
order as insufficiently supported by the record. If the Commission 
takes a cross-media approach, how can it avoid the shortcomings the 
court found in the 2002 order?
    75. Should the Commission expand its review in this proceeding to 
include and consider two issues that may relate to our media ownership 
rules? First, the Commission's cross-ownership and local television 
ownership rules employ analog broadcast television contours as one 
criterion in determining whether the applicable rule is violated. 
However, analog contours are no longer relevant. Should the FCC 
continue using broadcast television contour for purposes of the 
ownership rules, and if so, how should it revise the rules?
    76. The Commission has defined two digital television service 
contours, the digital noise limited service contour (``NLSC'') and the 
DTV principal community contour. The digital NLSC approximates the 
Grade B contour. The FCC does not have an equivalent digital contour 
for the analog Grade A contour. Should it continue to use contour 
encompassment as a triggering factor and to count voices in a market as 
currently used in the media ownership rules? If it continues to use 
contours to determine compliance or applicability of a rule, what 
contours should it use? Should it substitute the NLSC for the Grade B 
contour? Is there a suitable substitute for the Grade A contour? Should 
it consider using the same digital contour for all of the ownership 
rules, and not distinguish between different geographic areas, such as 
the analog Grade A, Grade B, and city grade contours? What are the 
benefits or harms of adopting a single contour standard? Should it 
continue to require 100% encompassment for a rule to be triggered?
    77. Alternatively, should it eliminate the use of contours and 
adopt a different analytical approach? If so, what criteria should be 
used to determine when a rule is triggered? How should it count voices 
if it does not use a contour-based method? Should it count voices in 
geographic areas? For instance, if it uses Arbitron metro areas for 
this purpose, how would it address areas in which Arbitron has not 
defined radio markets? What are the benefits or harms of substituting a 
geographic-based approach for a contour approach?
    78. To facilitate nationwide broadband deployment, the Commission 
released and sent to Congress its broadband plan, ``Connecting America: 
The National Broadband Plan'' on March 16, 2010. The plan sets out a 
plan of action and a roadmap ``to spur economic growth and investment, 
create jobs, educate our children, protect our citizens, and engage in 
our democracy.'' Is the broadband plan a relevant factor to consider 
when developing broadcast ownership rules? Does access to broadband 
affect our policy goals? How does access to audio and video content 
available over broadband factor into the competition analysis? How does 
access to broadband affect the diversity goals?
    79. What, if any, specific aspects of the broadband plan are 
relevant here? For example, would ubiquitous access to broadband 
service in this country impact the media ownership policy? Should the 
competitive impact of the Internet be given more weight if the 
percentage of consumers with broadband access substantially increases? 
The plan finds that mobile services are playing an increasingly 
important role in our lives and our economy. Should the Commission's 
policy goals to foster mobile services impact media ownership rules? 
Should the fact that consumers are increasingly getting news and 
programming through their mobile devices impact the decisions in this 
    80. Ex Parte. The inquiry this Notice initiates shall be treated as 
a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the 
Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making oral ex parte presentations 
are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentations must contain 
summaries of the substance of the presentations and not merely a 
listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one or two sentence 
description of the views and arguments presented generally is required. 
Other requirements pertaining to oral and written presentations are set 
forth in section 1.1206(b) of the Commission's rules.
    81. Comment Filing Procedures. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 
of the Commission's Rules, 47 CFR 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties 
may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated 
on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using: (1) 
The Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the 
Federal Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. 
See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 
24121 (1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St., SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before 
entering the building.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).
    89. Accordingly, It is ordered, that pursuant to the authority 
contained in sections 1, 2(a), 4(i), 303, 307, 309, and 310 of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 
303, 307, 309, and 310, and Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications 
Act of 1996, this Notice of Inquiry is adopted.

[[Page 33237]]

Federal Communications Commission.

Marlene H. Dortch,
[FR Doc. 2010-14099 Filed 6-10-10; 8:45 am]