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Reinstated FCC Radio Non-Duplication Rule Effective August 2

As noted previously, the FCC has reinstated its radio non-duplication rule. This rule limits the duplication of programming by commonly owned stations or stations commonly operated through a time brokerage agreement in the same service (AM or FM) with substantially overlapping signals to 25% of the average broadcast week.

The rule was eliminated in 2020 but was reinstated recently by the FCC. The FCC has released its decision. According to a press release published by the Commission, the rule will become effective on August 2nd.

“On June 10, 2024, the Commission released the Order on Reconsideration (Order), which granted the Petition for Reconsideration filed by REC Networks, the musicFIRST Coalition, and the Future of Music Coalition requesting that the Commission reinstate section 73.3556 of the Commission’s rules (radio duplication rule) for commercial FM stations (licensees). The rules become effective 30 days after publication of the Order in the Federal Register. The Federal Register published a summary of the Order on July 3, 2024. Accordingly, the rules adopted in the Order will take effect on August 2, 2024.”

Importantly, there is a grace period to come into compliance.  The FCC’s public notice stated:

“For licensees that exceed the duplication allowance of the reinstated rule, the Order affords them a six-month grace period to come into compliance beginning 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The grace period will be effective from August 2, 2024, to February 3, 2025.”

In addition, a station may submit waivers within 90 days of the August 2nd effective date. The FCC noted:

“The Commission encourages licensees planning to seek waivers of the reinstated rule to submit waiver requests within 90 days after the new rule becomes effective. Accordingly, such waiver requests should be submitted by October 31, 2024.  Licensees, however, are not precluded from submitting waiver requests beyond the recommended time period. Unless and until a licensee’s waiver request is denied, it may continue duplicating programming beyond the 25% duplication allowance. Additionally, in the event that a licensee’s waiver request is denied, the Commission may grant additional time, not to exceed six months, for the licensee to come into compliance.”

We continue to believe reinstating the rule is unnecessary. Nonetheless, it is once again part of the FCC’s rules, and stations must comply.

You can the FCC’s Public Notice here

You can see the FCC’s decision here.

You can see our previous NewStream story about the issue here.



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