Local TV Stations Are at Crossroads, and It’s not Looking Good for Diversity and Local Voices

Quick Heads-up: If FCC changes the rules, big companies might end up owning lots of TV stations in the same place. This could mean that smaller, independent voices could have a tough time, and local news might have fewer points of view. People are worried that if big corporations take over, they might care more about making money than making sure each community gets the news it needs.


Television broadcasting landscape may be on the brink of significant change.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC station owners are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make the rules about who can own TV stations more relaxed.

Right now, the FCC has rules that stop one company from owning both a FOX and an ABC station in the same place.

This rule is supposed to keep things fair and make sure there are many points of view. But the NAB and local station owners say these rules are old, and it’s time to change them because TV and radio face tough challenges today.

The big issue is a part of a law from 1996, called Section 202(h).

NAB thinks this law says the FCC should either get rid of or loosen these rules. They’re saying this at a time when the internet gives people lots of choices for news.

Some people who don’t like the idea of changing these rules worry it could be bad for different voices and local news. They’re afraid that if TV stations can own many big networks in the same place, big companies might take over and control everything.

In the past, FCC wanted to have fair competition in every place.

Back in 1975, they made a rule that said you can’t own a daily newspaper and a TV or radio station in the same area. This was to stop one person from having too much control over the news.

But now, with things changing, some say these rules are not needed anymore.

However, FCC has to decide about this by December 27, 2023, because a court said so. If they make the rules looser, it could mean big changes. Smaller local TV stations might have a hard time competing with bigger companies.

The worry isn’t just about businesses competing; it’s also about what it could mean for different voices in local news.

People are scared that if the rules change, there might be a lot of buying and selling, and smaller, community-focused stations might disappear.

Instead of serving the needs of each community, the focus might become more on making money.

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