The broadcast industry’s best friend on causes near and dear to radio and television industry C-Suiters just stepped up in support of Twenty-First Century Fox.
The NAB on Tuesday filed a motion to intervene with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of Fox’s challenge to an FCC decision to eliminate a discount afford to UHF stations.
The move follows prior arguments from the NAB before the Commission that the body could not amend its national TV ownership rules without first considering whether a more stringent national ownership rule served the public interest.
In the motion to intervene, the NAB again argues that the FCC “unlawfully amended its rule limiting the ownership of broadcast television stations nationwide by altering its calculation methodology for determining the national audience reach of station owners, without considering whether the amended national ownership rule served the public interest.”
In its decision, the FCC explained, “Adopted in 1985, the UHF discount was intended to mitigate the competitive disadvantage that UHF broadcast television stations suffered in comparison to VHF broadcast television stations. At that time, UHF stations were technically inferior, producing weaker over-the-air signals, reaching smaller audiences, and costing more to build and operate than VHF stations. But while UHF channels may have been inferior for purposes of broadcasting in analog, experience since the DTV transition demonstrates that UHF channels are equal, if not superior, to VHF channels for the digital transmission of television signals. Thus, as a result of the DTV transition, the UHF discount can no longer be supported on technical grounds.”