The Federal Communications Commission today eliminated the broadcast main studio rule. The Order retains the requirement that stations maintain a local or toll-free telephone number to ensure consumers have ready access to their local stations.
The main studio rule, adopted nearly 80 years ago, currently requires each AM radio, FM radio, and television broadcast station to have a main studio located in or near its local community. The rule was implemented to facilitate input from community members and the station’s participation in community activities.
The Commission recognizes that today the public can access information via broadcasters’ online public file, and stations and community members can interact directly through alterative means such as e-mail, social media, and the telephone. Given this, the Commission found that requiring broadcasters to maintain a main studio is outdated and unnecessarily burdensome.
Elimination of the main studio rule should produce substantial cost-saving benefits for broadcasters that can be directed toward such things as programming, equipment upgrades, newsgathering, and other services that benefit consumers. It will also make it easier for broadcasters to prevent stations in small towns from going dark and to launch new stations in rural areas.
Action by the Commission October 24, 2017 by a Report and Order (FCC 17-137). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners Clyburn, O’Rielly, Carr and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements.