On October 24, the FCC voted 3-2 to eliminate the almost eight-decade old requirement that radio and television broadcasters maintain a main studio in or near their community of license.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had said it had become outdated because in the digital age the community has access and can engage with stations via social media or email without having a physical studio nearby.
He also said maintaining a physical address is an expense better put to other uses, like adding more local programming. Broadcasters have said that expense can range from $20,000 a year to several hundred thousand dollars.
Despite elimination of the studio requirement, stations are still required to have a local, toll-free telephone number and to maintain any portion of their public files that are not online at a publicly accessible location within their community of license.
Dennis Wharton, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications ,released a statement, saying,” NAB supports elimination of the main studio rule, which has outlived its usefulness in an era of mobile news gathering and multiple content delivery platforms. We’re confident that cost savings realized from ending the main studio rule will be reinvested by broadcasters in better programming and modernized equipment to better serve our local communities. We applaud the FCC for continuing to remove unnecessary and outdated broadcast regulations.”
The order will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.