WASHINGTON — It looks like NBC is about to follow Fox’s lead and head for the exit at the National Assn. of Broadcasters. And now Washington is waiting to see who is next to leave.
In a letter to the NAB, NBC prexy Robert Wright said that the trade org’s position on the national ownership cap is not acceptable to the network. Fox made a similar statement before it ankled the NAB earlier this year.
Many industry sources expect ABC to follow close behind. The NAB, which generally has a deregulatory agenda, does not support further relaxation of the ownership cap because many of its affil members worry that major webs are already too big. If the cap were lifted to 50%, as some have proposed, or eliminated altogether, as others have proposed, it would give the networks greater leverage when negotiating compensation and programming issues.
Although the FCC relaxed local ownership rules in September, it has shown great reluctance to relax ownership rules any further.