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FCC adopts proposal to support local journalism

The Federal Communications Commission is looking to incentivize the production of local journalism and broadcasters’ commitment to needed programming by prioritizing the processing and review of applications from stations that “invest in and prioritize” that type of content in their communities.

“Our goal is to provide additional incentive to stations to provide programming that responds to the needs and interests of the communities they are licensed to serve,” according to the FCC’s proposal.

“We want to ensure our policies support local journalism because it is so vital for our communities and our country. This creative proposal offers a new way to do just that,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Specifically, the FCC proposes to adopt an application processing policy that, with respect to applications for renewal, transfer or assignment of a license, would prioritize evaluation of those applications filed by stations that certify they provide locally originated programming. 

Those applications would be the first reviewed, likely resulting in quicker action and, if the application is granted, quicker approval of these applications, the agency noted.

“We tentatively conclude that our proposal to award priority application review to applicants that provide locally originated programming advances the Commission’s longstanding policy goal of encouraging licensees to air programming that serves the needs and interests of their local community,” the agency stated.

The journalism-related content requirement applies to AM, FM and television broadcast stations. Currently, the FCC requires stations to prepare a quarterly list of programs that “have provided the most significant treatment of community issues” to monitor a licensee’s performance in meeting its public interest obligation to provide responsive programming to its community.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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