Broadcasters currently operating stations under the sales agreements would be required to unwind those deals within two years, FCC officials said Thursday. Stations could ask for waivers, but those would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The proposal represents a reversal of the FCC's almost decade-long effort to slightly loosen media ownership rules during a time in which an increasing number of consumers get their information on the Internet instead of via dead trees or TV antennas. Three previous FCC chairmen — Democrat Julius Genachowski and Republicans Kevin Martin and Michael Powell — all endorsed various proposals to loosen those rules.
(Read more: How net neutrality could affect consumers)
The FCC's Wheeler, a former cable lobbyist, has reversed course and suggested keeping current limits in place while restricting practices that TV station owners have used to cut costs and get more leverage in negotiations on fees that cable providers pay for the right to air local channels.
The agency will also propose limits to prevent local station owners from jointly renegotiating deals with pay-TV providers. That would help stop the rise in such fees, FCC officials said Thursday.
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—By Amy Schatz, Re/code.net.
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