Fox TV Stations ask FCC to end ownership limits

Networks struggle to survive the 21st century

WASHINGTON — Fox Television Stations filed an emergency petition at the Federal Communications Commission Thursday which asks the agency to eliminate the national broadcast rules which limit the number of stations a broadcaster may own.

Fox contends that recent changes and the marketplace and in the FCC’s own rules require the agency to take quick action. In its filing, News Corp. noted that the agency had recently relaxed local ownership rules to allow broadcasters to own more than one station in a market.

“If the FCC extends the logic underlying these regulatory changes to the national TV ownership rule, it should quickly and decisively conclude that the cap must be eliminated,” wrote Fox.

Competition looms

In its filing, Fox wrote that “formidable competitors, which include cable operators, cable networks, direct broadcast satellite services and Internet companies, are able to take advantage of a far less regulated environment to expand their reach and achieve economies of scale. At the same time, broadcasters hamstrung by the national cap are prevented from exploiting comparable economies, efficiencies and opportunities.”

All the networks say they need to own more stations if they are going to survive in to the 21st century, but Fox has been among the most aggressive.