NAB urges FCC to ditch main studio rule for TV broadcasters

TV tower
The NAB said the main studio rule, along with the related equipment and staffing requirements, should be ditched since viewers now more often interact digitally with TV licensees.

The National Association of Broadcasters is calling on the FCC to move ahead with its plans to end the main studio rule for TV broadcasters.

In an FCC filing (PDF), the NAB said the main studio rule, along with the related equipment and staffing requirements, should be ditched since viewers now more often interact digitally with TV licensees.

As NAB points out, when the main studio rule was established in 1940, it was meant to more easily allow viewers to actually visit TV stations. When the rule was revised in 1998, many of the ways in which stations and their audiences interact today had yet to be developed, the NAB wrote.

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NAB said that eliminating the rule will have no impact on studios’ connections to the local communities they serve.

“Stations will continue to have strong incentives to know and understand the needs and interests of their communities of license, and the public will continue to interact with their local stations in ways that are not dependent upon the existence of a studio—using social media, telephone, email, letters and websites maintained by both stations and the FCC,” the NAB wrote.

NAB said eliminating the rule will also help TV broadcasters to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively by allowing for things like co-locating, relocating and deploying staff differently.

RELATED: FCC officially puts media ownership rules review on the docket

In April, the FCC officially opened a docket for the review of current media ownership rules, making good on a pledge that Chairman Ajit Pai made during this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

“The last thing broadcast needs are outdated rules standing in their way,” Pai said. “We want to make sure the rules match the reality of 2017, not 1987.”

Besides mentioning rule changes designed to help out small businesses and allow for experimentation with the new ATSC 3.0 TV standards, Pai also promised to wipe out the “main studio” rule requiring broadcasters to maintain a central studio in their licensed markets.

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