possible ownership cap rule changes

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fm-engineer
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possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by fm-engineer » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:09 am

What is everyone hearing on NAB's recommendation for complete radio ownership deregulation on markets 75+? Does anyone think this will pass the FCC this year or maybe next year?

Lee_Wheeler
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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:04 pm

I haven't seen it in a NPRM yet but then again I have only been paying attention the technical stuff, the translator interference NPRM and the C4 NOI.

Given that we are in mid July I can't imagine that it could get through Rule Making this year.

...Lee

TPT
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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by TPT » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:21 pm

Believed this discussion scheduled for a September meeting. Whether it will go to a rule making proposal is another issue. Some of the bigger operators are opposed (I-Heart, Cumulus), while the NAB proposed essentially ending all ownership restrictions below market 75. Believe MMTC and related minority ownership groups are also opposed.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by fm-engineer » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:15 pm

It looks like this issue is once again up on the Dec 12 agenda. I am hearing from some reliable sources the NAB's proposal to completely deregulate radio ownership 75+ is going to pass. There may be a public comment period, but Pai and O'reilly seem to be indicating privately its a done deal.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by TPT » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:22 pm

Disaster for radio...especially small owners. Has the effect of "block busting" markets. With one owner owning most of the stations in the market they can squeeze the remaining stations until they sell out for pennies, or go broke and go dark. Look at Morgantown-Fairmont-Clarksburg WV, where most of the viable signals are owned by WV Radio Corp. and the AJG family trust (which is realistically the same management).

And won't improve the industry. We have two country stations, two CHR stations, and two AC stations in my market --run by competing owners. So one group owns all stations? No need for competing formats where one company owns everything. Besides, less advertising money in the market to support all these stations. 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2 when it comes to sales.

With the abolition of the main studio rule, we'll see more studios being closed and stations being run remotely from regional centers. Bunch of computers talking to another bunch of computers.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by Nathaniel Steele » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 pm

TPT wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:22 pm
Look at Morgantown-Fairmont-Clarksburg WV, where most of the viable signals are owned by WV Radio Corp. and the AJG family trust (which is realistically the same management).

And won't improve the industry. We have two country stations, two CHR stations, and two AC stations in my market --run by competing owners. So one group owns all stations? No need for competing formats where one company owns everything. Besides, less advertising money in the market to support all these stations. 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2 when it comes to sales.

With the abolition of the main studio rule, we'll see more studios being closed and stations being run remotely from regional centers. Bunch of computers talking to another bunch of computers.
I almost ended up working in fairmont WV. A cable company in Latrobe PA had bough 4 stations in Latrobe and 4 in Fairmont (Formerly the Fantasia Broadcast stations). something happened on thier end to cause delays and I needed to have a new job by august of last year so I ended up in TN instead. I've wondered whatever happened out there, TPT do you know anything? the stations were on the air when I visited. I'd not be surprised if they ended up automated out of Latrobe, with maybe a local sales staff.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by TPT » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:27 pm

LHTC--bought two AM's and an FM in Fairmont, and an FM licensed to Westover (Morgantown). The Westover station is the WVU affiliate for Morgantown, because WVRadio didn't want to affiliate with IMG when they were outbid for the broadcast rights. These stations were mostly automated when LHTC bought the stations from a company mostly owned by a couple of guys out of D.C. who got in over their heads. Fantasia (the son, not Nick) still owns the studios and transmitter sites for the Fairmont operations.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by NECRAT » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:58 pm

TPT wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:22 pm
Disaster for radio...especially small owners. Has the effect of "block busting" markets. With one owner owning most of the stations in the market they can squeeze the remaining stations until they sell out for pennies, or go broke and go dark. Look at Morgantown-Fairmont-Clarksburg WV, where most of the viable signals are owned by WV Radio Corp. and the AJG family trust (which is realistically the same management).

And won't improve the industry. We have two country stations, two CHR stations, and two AC stations in my market --run by competing owners. So one group owns all stations? No need for competing formats where one company owns everything. Besides, less advertising money in the market to support all these stations. 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2 when it comes to sales.

With the abolition of the main studio rule, we'll see more studios being closed and stations being run remotely from regional centers. Bunch of computers talking to another bunch of computers.
I highly doubt you're going to see any company, no matter who, want to buy 100% of a market. That would be insane, and would hurt them in the long run. Also with the well established companies like iHeart, Entercom, Beasley and Alpha, you won't see them wanting to give up their slice of the pie in the large markets. What you will see, are 6-7 FM signaled clusters, or in the 44 or less crowd, 5 signals finally go to one owner. That I do see happening. Also the abolishment of the TV is a "voice" in a market rule, which should've gone a long time ago.
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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by TPT » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:34 am

Big difference between markets 100 and up and 100 and below. My example of Morgantown/Fairmont/Clartksburg--market 174. 21 commercial stations, 15 AM and 6 FM with viable signals in the market. The WV Radio/AJG (trust) combination owns 9 FM's and 2 AM's in the market--including all but one of the Class B-1 and B stations. That's under present rules. As to format competition--we already have seen one AJG class A converted to classic country to compete with the independent classic country B-1. When you have this many signals you play these games.

Now--if the NAB proposal was accepted (100% market ownership)--would they buy the remaining 10 stations? No--but they might buy the only independent B-1...and the remaining Class A covering Morgantown. Leaving nothing but advertising scraps for the remaining stations...and next to no regional national business. Then what would happen? Who knows? One of the other groups holding a fire sale? Turn off the stations and take a tax loss? Hard to predict--but would not bode well for the health of radio in the market.

Nor would this help "diversity of ownership." The proposal to eliminate sub-caps might free up some AM stations for minority purchase as the larger groups fill out their cluster with added FM's. If there are no ownership limits the dominate group or groups would just hold on to the marginal stations (Class A FM's, or AM's)--because they could. Fill them with cheap formats, or use them to chip away at competitors --music in a box against full-programmed competitors.

Nathaniel Steele
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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by Nathaniel Steele » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:34 am

TPT wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:27 pm
LHTC--bought two AM's and an FM in Fairmont, and an FM licensed to Westover (Morgantown). The Westover station is the WVU affiliate for Morgantown, because WVRadio didn't want to affiliate with IMG when they were outbid for the broadcast rights. These stations were mostly automated when LHTC bought the stations from a company mostly owned by a couple of guys out of D.C. who got in over their heads. Fantasia (the son, not Nick) still owns the studios and transmitter sites for the Fairmont operations.
Yes that was it, Couldn't remember the name of the company. I wonder if they ever hired a full time engineer. Ultimately I think I'm better off where I am now anyway. Mr Fantasia seemed like a hoot! Would have liked to work with that guy.

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Re: possible ownership cap rule changes

Post by TPT » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:13 pm

Yes, I've met him. Seems very well plugged in to the community.

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