BACKGROUND: Last week several broadcast companies met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to discuss the Commission’s proposal to raise the national ownership cap. The national ownership cap, currently set at 39%, limits how many television stations a broadcast company can own. The broadcast companies in attendance at the meeting pushed the Commission to raise the cap by applying a 50% discount to very high frequency (VHF) stations similar to the current discount for ultra high frequency (UHF) stations. Common Cause has consistently opposed the technologically-obsolete UHF discount and condemns extending it to VHF stations.
Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Advisor
“Broadcasters are seldom bashful, but this new effort to apply the archaic, discredited UHF discount to VHF stations is as blatant a land-grab as I’ve ever seen. It would push consolidation into warp speed, further decimate local news, and result in many more communities which can only listen and never speak for themselves.”