WASHINGTON, DC—The FCC has long been at odds with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals over the FCC’s attempt to revamp media outlet ownership rules. Now, the FCC is on the offensive, filing a petition seeking a review of the Third Circuit’s decision to vacate the FCC’s 2017 Quadrennial Review Order on Reconsideration.

Womble Bond Dickinson Telecom attorney John Garziglia writes about the Nov. 7 filing in Radio Ink. The Third Circuit’s decision to vacate the Quadrennial Review Order on Reconsideration.

“The Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Prometheus IV overturned the FCC’s elimination of the newspaper/broadcast and television/radio cross-ownership rules, rescission of the television ‘eight-voices’ test for mergers, and establishment of a broadcast station incubator program,” Garziglia writes “In striking down the rule changes, the Third Circuit held that the FCC had an obligation ‘to adequately consider the effect its 2017 rules would have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities.’”

FCC officials and the same panel of three judges have been at odds over this issue going back 15 years. By filing the Nov. 7 petition, the FCC is requesting a new hearing by the full Third Circuit. Garziglia said any FCC attempts to change radio station ownership rules are effectively on hold until this issue is resolved.

“A Third Circuit en banc review of the Prometheus IV decision increases the chances that the eventual decision will give the FCC more leeway to fashion its broadcast ownership rules based upon competition. A Third Circuit refusal to review en banc, however, may mean we will see a Prometheus V, a Prometheus VI and so on, with the FCC stuck in a regulatory abyss, required to review its ownership rules every four years but unable to appreciably change them,” Garziglia writes.

Click here to read “FCC Refuses To Be Bullied By Court” by John Garziglia in Radio Ink.

Also, click here to read Garziglia’s insights into the Third Circuit’s bombshell decision in September 2019 to strike down the FCC’s plan to loosen media outlet ownership requirements.

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.