Radio Duplication Rule on the Chopping Block

Posted on November 27th, 2019 by

The FCC has launched a rulemaking to consider whether to eliminate an old rule, last amended in 1992, that restricts commonly owned commercial AM and FM stations with substantial contour overlap from duplicating more than 25% of total weekly programming.

The original logic for the rule dates back to the 1960s, when the duplication percentage was higher and designed to increase programming diversity in a market. With the number of radio stations nearly doubling since 1992, and the ability for AM stations to use FM translators, the NPRM asks whether the non-duplication rule remains necessary to promote competition, programming diversity, and spectrum efficiency.

This proceeding is yet another example of Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to modernize the FCC’s rules, and delete regulations that no longer serve a purpose given the rapidly changing broadcast media landscape. Comments will be due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.