NBC Affils To FCC: JSA's Benefit Public

Affilate Association Execs Pitch Benefits to Commission Eyeing New Restriction on Sharing Agreements 1/30/2013 10:01 AM Eastern


The leadership of the NBC TV Affiliate group were in Washington last week to, among other things, try and persuade the FCC not to start counting some TV joint sales agreements toward its local ownership limits, as it proposed in its Media Ownership rulemaking, which has yet to be voted.

Their first choice would be loosening those local limits, they told top FCC staffers in meetings, according to FCC documents. But failing that, they certainly don't want the commission to tighten them by making some exisiting JSAs off limits in the future. Those JSAs, the broadcast execs said, have allowed them to keep TV a "strong and valued" journalism source given ongoing restrictions on common ownership the would prefer would be "out" going.

Among the big names who held meetings over two days with commissioners and their top staffers were affiliates president/chairman and Hearst TV president Jordan Wertlieb; David Lougee, president, of Gannett's Broadcast Division and vice chairman of the affiliate group; Ralph Oakley, president of Quincy Newspapers and vice chairman of government for the affiliates and; LIN Media president and affiliates treasurer Vincent Sadusky.

Oakley provided a case study in the value of JSAs and other sharing arrangements. He talked about

KTTC-TV, the NBC/CW affiliate in Rochester/Austin, Minn.– Mason City, Iowa, and the Fox/ME-TV affiliate, KXLT-TV it has been providing services to via a JSA/shared services agreement.

He said that given the "increased competition and economic challenges of the television industry," the agreement saves jobs and provides local news that would not otherwise exist. "As a stand-alone, KXLT is unable to afford providing local news," he said, while thanks to the agreement, it has a late evening newscast six nights a week that includes stories exclusive to that station as well as ones that also run on KTTC.

The execs also weighed in on incentive auctions--protecting local TV service should be a central goal--and retransmission-consent/exclusivity rules: Preserving them is vital to their business.

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