FCC Defends UHF Discount

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The Federal Communications Commission told the DC Circuit Court of Appeals it was reasonable to reinstate the so-called UHF discount in April because it is “inextricably intertwined” with the 39 percent national audience reach limit imposed on broadcasters. Remember, the UHF discount allows broadcasters to count half the reach of UHF TV stations when calculating adherence to that 39 percent limit. Free Press, Common Cause and other groups challenged the reinstatement in court, arguing the rule will hurt media diversity, competition, and local programming by increasing broadcast ownership consolidation. But the FCC said the groups lack standing to bring the case because they haven’t shown how they are harmed by the UHF discount. The agency said it is right to bring back the discount, and consider both that and revising the 39 percent cap itself in a rulemaking. “Recognizing that the discount and the cap are inextricably linked, the commission reasonably concluded in the order on review that before it made any changes to the discount, it should examine the discount and the cap together,” the FCC said.

FCC Defends UHF Discount read the brief (FCC)