FCC Commences 2022 Quadrennial Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules

Posted on December 30th, 2022 by

Statutorily, the FCC is required to review its broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether they still serve the public interest.  With little fanfare, the Media Bureau announced the next quadrennial review on December 22, 2022 in order to meet the statutory requirement.

This latest review comes even though the 2018 review remains pending due in part to a probable deadlock between the two Democratically appointed and two Republican appointed Commissioners on the outstanding issues.  The vacant Commissioner seat remains so nearly two years into President Biden’s presidency, though it appears that previously twice-nominated Gigi Sohn is likely to be re-nominated and voted on by the Senate sometime in 2023.  If she is appointed and that translates into votes and decisions for the 2018 quadrennial review, those will impact the 2022 quadrennial review. If not, then the 2022 quadrennial review will ultimately consider the same broadcast ownership issues, including the radio ownership limits that have been in place and relatively unchanged for over a quarter century.

The 2022 announcement does re-ask the question that could create a cascade of changes in the ownership rules, namely whether technological change and the growth of streaming and other competitors should re-define the market in which broadcasters compete.

Comment deadlines have not yet been announced, but will probably fall sometime in the first quarter of 2023.