Golden Gate University Law Review


David C. King


In September, 1983, the FCC issued for administrative comment a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (hereafter Notice) aimed at amending the Seven Station Rule. The three major reasons cited by the Commission for proposing the amendment were the arbitrariness of the Seven Station Rule, the changed circumstances in the broadcasting industry since 1953, and the harm to diversity caused by the Rule despite its intended purpose. The Notice did not cite a specific alternative to the Rule, but indicated a possible interim amendment in the numerical ceiling to fourteen on-air television stations and thirty-six radio stations (FM and AM combined). The Notice also indicated that the ultimate goal was the complete elimination of all numerical limitations on station ownership. According to the Notice, if the Seven Station Rule is eliminated, media concentration would be monitored by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). These agencies would use traditional antitrust law in monitoring undue concentration in the industry. This Comment will review the reasoning behind the Notice, and criticize its potential impact if adopted. The Comment will then consider other factors that should be considered if the Seven Station Rule is to be amended and suggest alternative proposals to those indicated in the Notice.