Proposal to Eliminate Main Studio Rule

According to a report in Inside Radio, the FCC is circulating a proposal to relax radio’s Main Studio Rule. A law firm, Garvey Schubert Barer (GSB) has formally petitioned the Commission to repeal the regulation for all radio and television stations. The firm says in the petition, that doing away with the Main Studio Rule won’t reduce broadcasters’ “bedrock obligation” to serve the local community. “Instead, it is meant to recognize the technological and economic realities of today’s broadcast marketplace—that stations can serve their communities while realizing substantial and necessary cost savings by maintaining fewer offices and smaller staff.”

FCC chair Ajit Pai has not announced whether he’d support abolishing the rule, but he supports modernizing the agency’s regulations. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly called the Main Studio Rule “outdated and unnecessary” saying it “should be eliminated or severely modified.” The Media Bureau is believed to be evaluating the Main Studio Rule’s future as part of its ongoing AM revitalization initiative. Pai has said he’s most likely to act first on items which have broad support. GSB’s petition could be a mechanism to test how much consensus there is for abolishing the rule.

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