While opponents of media consolidation and such groups as the National Association of Black Journalists applauded Monday's decision by the Federal Communications Commission to curb shared services agreements, the National Association of Broadcasters denounced it.
A JSA, or joint sales agreement, is between two stations in the same market in which one station is authorized to sell advertising time on the other. A shared services agreement, or SSA, "allows same market stations to share resources, such as employees, administrative services, or hard assets, such as a news helicopter," as the FCC defines it. Opponents say such agreements eliminate journalists' jobs and inhibit diversity of ownership. The NAB disagreed.
"For a decade, Republican and Democratically-controlled FCCs have approved JSAs, which allow free and local TV stations to survive in a hyper-competitive world dominated by pay TV giants. That model is now declared illegal, based on the arguments of pay TV companies whose collaborative interconnect advertising sales practices make JSAs seem pale by comparison," NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said in a statement Monday.
"It's disappointing the FCC would take this action without first completing its 2010 statutorily mandated media ownership review. As the record before the Commission clearly shows, the public interest will not be served by this arbitrary and capricious decision."
Brendan Sasso reported Monday for the National Journal that"Ajit Pai, a Republican FCC commissioner, said the order is the 'most problematic' he has encountered in his two years at the agency. The agency's other Republican, Michael O'Rielly, called it an 'unjustified step backwards.'
"The Republican commissioners argued that the FCC should be loosening — not tightening — its media ownership rules. Limitations on how many newspapers a TV company can own in a market are especially outdated, they argued. . . ."
Doug Halonen, TVNewsCheck: High-Stakes Duel In D.C.: NAB Vs. FCC(April 3)
Jennifer G. Hickey, newsmax.com: FCC Rules Are Barrier to Diversity, Critics Say
Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable: Station Stocks Hold Up Amid JSA News
- Tracie Powell, Columbia Journalism Review: Shared Service Agreement limits in the crosshairs