FCC Eliminates Radio Duplication Rule

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today adopted a Report and Order eliminating the radio duplication rule for both the AM and FM services. The rule restricts the duplication of programming on commonly owned broadcast radio stations operating in the same service and geographic area.

The radio duplication rule, initially adopted in 1964, has been updated several times over the years to reflect marketplace changes, most recently in 1992. In today’s Order, the Commission finds that eliminating the radio duplication rule will help struggling stations stay on the air; afford broadcast radio licensees greater flexibility to  address issues of local concern in a timely fashion, particularly in times of crisis; assist with format changes; facilitate a potential voluntary digital transition in the AM service; and ultimately allow stations to improve service
to their communities. The Commission also concludes that broadcasters have no incentive to limit their appeal and thus their revenues by simulcasting the same programming on multiple stations for long periods of time so the benefits of providing additional flexibility outweigh any costs.

The rulemaking furthers the Commission’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative to eliminate or modify media regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome, and concludes the 18th proceeding that is part of this initiative.

Action by the Commission August 6, 2020 by Report and Order (FCC 20-109). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioners Rosenworcel and Starks concurring in part and dissenting in part. Chairman Pai, Commissioners Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks issuing separate statements.