Court rules against FCC's relaxation of media consolidation limits - Commissioner Starks responds
Sep 23, 2019
COMMISSIONER GEOFFREY STARKS CALLS ON FCC TO FINALLY COMMIT TO MEDIA OWNERSHIP RULES WITH A FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
WASHINGTON, September 23, 2019—Today, in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded FCC action relaxing media consolidation limits because of the agency’s failure to analyze the impact of these rule changes on broadcast ownership by women and people of color.
The following statement can be attributed to Commissioner Starks:
“As Judge Ambro wrote in today’s opinion: ‘Here we are again.’ I share the Court’s exasperation and frustration. Four times they’ve told us that we need to do better on our analysis with regard to diversity – and it is time to do so now. For nearly all of the 21st century, the FCC has ignored its statutory obligation to promote diversity in broadcasting. Instead, inexplicably, time and again its efforts seem designed to support greater media consolidation – a goal that is not present in our statute. Today, the Third Circuit rejected the agency’s deregulatory efforts because of a failure to consider the impact of these policy changes on station ownership by women and people of color. Unfortunately, the miniscule number of diverse owners in this country speaks for itself.
“Today’s opinion is clear: the FCC’s approach to setting our media ownership rules needs a dramatic overhaul. We must recommit to our goals of promoting competition, localism, and diversity. We can no longer get by with the bad data and shoddy analysis – problems that have been highlighted far too often by courts and interested observers in recent years. The Court here suggests that ‘new empirical research’ may be required to fully satisfy our rulemaking requirements. I wholeheartedly agree. Needless to say, today’s decision will require us to go back to the drawing board on our underway 2018 Quadrennial Review, which relies upon much of the same analysis as the orders vacated by the Court today.”
Stay up to date with the latest industry developments: sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox – including our daily news briefing and weekly wrap.