The Walt Disney Co. is expected announce on Tuesday ABC's departure from the
National Association of Broadcasters, an industry source said late Monday.
NBC, CBS and Fox all quit the NAB in recent years over policy differences
related to limits on station ownership. ABC is expected to head for the exit for
the same reason.
Preston Padden, Disney's executive vice president of worldwide government
relations, issued an invitation to reporters Monday to meet at his Washington,
D.C., office Tuesday "to receive a letter regarding ABC, NAB and the
broadcast-ownership rules." Padden did not return a call seeking comment.
The NAB is supporting legislation to restore a rule that limits a TV-station
group to reaching no more than 35% of TV households nationally. On June 2, the
Federal Communications Commission moved the cap to 45%. The 35% bill is expected
to clear the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday.
The NAB is dominated by network affiliates that fear that a 45% cap would
give the networks too much control over their programming decisions. The
networks argued that a 35% or 45% limit relates to potential audience reach and
has nothing to do with actual ratings.