FCC Will Give Same-Market JSAs Two Years to Comply with Attribution Rule Change

Among Proposed Changes to Media Ownership Rules in Draft Order

The FCC is proposing giving stations two years to come into compliance with new rules that count some TV station joint sales agreements (JSAs) toward the FCC's local ownership caps.

According to sources, stations that sell at least 15% of ad time for another station in the same market will have two years from the effective date of the FCC order to either terminate the agreement or bring it into compliance. That was the same time period the FCC gave radio JSAs to come into compliance when it made them attributable back in 2003.

That is according to a proposed order in the FCC's quadrennial media ownership review, which also loosens the newspaper/TV cross-ownership rule and removes limits on radio/newspaper and radio/TV cross-ownerships. The order was circulated by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to the other commissioners this week for their input and edits.

According to sources, the order does not bring shared services agreements (SSAs) attributable, as some commenters, including cable operators, had pushed for, though the FCC may open a separate proceeding, according to one D.C. communications attorney following the proceedings.

Extending the JSAs to TV along the same lines as radio was the easiest move the FCC could have made in that area, given that it had already extended it to radio, and even critics of the move had wondered why the FCC had not dropped that other shoe by now.