Update: The federal court of appeals in Philadelphia ruled in favor of broadcasters by ordering the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review outdated broadcast ownership rules, and also invalidated FCC’s prohibition on joint sales agreements (JSAs) between television broadcasters. In its ruling about JSAs, the court stated that the FCC could not lawfully expand the reach of its ownership rules through changes to its attribution standards (i.e., what interests ‘count as attributable’ under the rules), unless the FCC had within the previous four (4) years determined that the local ownership rules serve the public interest. Status: The FCC now must go back and review its local ownership rules and justify their existence before ruling on JSAs.
Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2016. The bill includes language that permits broadcast joint sales agreements (JSAs) that were in existence at the time of the FCC rule change to continue through September 30, 2025. This overturns the FCC’s rule change that previously required these agreements to unwind by the end of 2016. NAB advocated for legislation to reverse the 2014 FCC decision that made most television JSAs count toward the FCC's strict ownership limits and therefore a violation of media ownership rules.