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Broadcasters to Challenge FCC Crackdown on Station Pacts to Sell Ad Time

The National Assn. of Broadcasters has filed a court challenge to the FCC’s crackdown on joint sales agreements, in which two stations in the same market join together to sell ad time.

The new FCC restrictions, put in place in a 3-2 vote in March, were championed by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who said that JSAs were being used as an end run around media ownership caps.

The NAB said that it would challenge the new restrictions in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they were put in place even though the commission had yet to complete a congressionally mandated review of ownership rules.

“NAB believes that a fact-based examination of today’s marketplace would show that FCC ownership restrictions against free and local broadcasters are outdated in a world of national pay TV giants,” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. “These rules — some of which have not been altered since 1975 — place broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage as we strive to continue delivering news, entertainment and lifeline programming to local communities across America.”

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