Third Circuit Denies Prometheus Petition on FCC Broadcast Deregulation

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has denied a petition from Prometheus Radio Project that it effectively stay the Federal Communications Commission's November vote to deregulate local broadcast ownership.  The court suggested the jury was still out on the FCC's response to the court's direction on ownership diversity and that Prometheus did not make a case for direct action from the court. That court denial of the writ request means the FCC's decision to eliminate crossownership rules and loosen other local ownership restrictions goes into effect and could mean that Sinclair Broadcasting can keep more stations in the Tribune deal than under the old rules or if the court had granted the writ of mandamus Prometheus sought. The Justice Department currently has a Feb. 11 deadline for either blocking the deal of signing off on it, though that could be extended. Sinclair had signaled it was adjusting the stations it would try to keep in the deal based on the loosened regulations, and the court decision paves the way for such an adjustment. Prometheus had argued the FCC's deregulatory moves were undertaken without the vetting of their impact on media ownership diversity the court had required. The FCC said it had vetted that impact, including proposing an incubator program as part of the decision.


Third Circuit Denies Prometheus Petition on FCC Broadcast Deregulation