WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 6, 2014): Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that the Commission would be moving to ultimately do away with those joint sales agreements (JSAs) for which there are few or no public interest benefits. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council applauds Wheeler’s initiative – particularly with respect to shared services agreements (SSAs), under which the “licensee” often holds nothing but a bare FCC license and lacks any meaningful authority over financing, staffing, or programming.
The Chairman’s announcement wisely leaves the door open for those instances in which the only way to save a struggling television station is with a “sidecar” JSA or SSA arrangement.
The Commission should also consider the very thoughtful proposal of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) to authorize temporary JSAs and SSAs when used as incubators of minority and women entrepreneurs.
Regulatory uncertainty has been a major cause of lack of access to capital for new entrants; thus MMTC hopes the Commission will provide clear guidance on what it is looking for in waiver requests.
MMTC will file formal comments after a period of due diligence.
The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.