Text: S.1046 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Reported to Senate (09/03/2003)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1046 Reported in Senate (RS)]






                                                       Calendar No. 270
108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1046

                          [Report No. 108-141]

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to preserve localism, to foster 
  and promote the diversity of television programming, to foster and 
    promote competition, and to prevent excessive concentration of 
        ownership of the Nation's television broadcast stations.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              May 13, 2003

   Mr. Stevens (for himself, Mr. Hollings, Mr. Burns, Mr. Lott, Mr. 
 Dorgan, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Feingold, Mr. Allard, Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Akaka, 
 Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Dole, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Inouye, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Dodd, 
    Mr. Edwards, Mrs. Murray, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Carper, Mr. Kerry, Mr. 
Jeffords, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Baucus, Ms. Collins, 
    Mr. Levin, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Byrd, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. 
Lieberman, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Sarbanes, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. 
 Daschle, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Reed, Mr. Graham of Florida, Mr. Coleman, 
Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Biden, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Chafee, and Mr. 
   Corzine) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

                           September 3, 2003

               Reported by Mr. McCain, with an amendment
                  [Insert the part printed in italic]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to preserve localism, to foster 
  and promote the diversity of television programming, to foster and 
    promote competition, and to prevent excessive concentration of 
        ownership of the Nation's television broadcast stations.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Preservation of Localism, Program 
Diversity, and Competition in Television Broadcast Service Act of 
2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The principle of localism is embedded in the 
        Communications Act in section 307(b) of the Communications Act 
        of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 307(b)). It has been the pole star for 
        regulation of the broadcast industry by the Federal 
        Communications Commission for nearly 70 years.
            (2) In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress 
        directed the Federal Communications Commission to increase the 
        limitations on national multiple television ownership so that 
        one party could not own or control television stations whose 
        aggregate national audience reach exceeded 35 percent. Congress 
        did so because it recognized that--
                    (A) further national concentration could not be 
                undone;
                    (B) other regulatory changes, such as the repeal by 
                the Commission of its financial and syndication 
                regulations, would heighten the power of the national 
                television networks; and
                    (C) the independence of non-network-owned stations 
                would be threatened if network ownership exceeded 35 
                percent.
            (3) If a limit to the national audience reach of television 
        stations that one party may own or control is not codified at 
        this time--
                    (A) further national concentration may occur whose 
                pernicious effects may be difficult to eradicate; and
                    (B) the independence of non-network-owned stations 
                will be threatened, placing local stations in danger of 
                becoming mere passive conduits for network 
                transmissions.
            (4) A cap on national multiple television ownership will 
        help preserve localism by limiting the networks' ability to 
        dictate programming aired on local stations.
            (5) The landscape of national ownership has changed 
        dramatically over the past two decades since the time when the 
        networks were limited to owning just seven television stations 
        nationwide:
                    (A) the Commission's financial and syndication 
                regulations have been repealed;
                    (B) the networks can own more than one television 
                station in many local markets;
                    (C) the networks have embraced programming ventures 
                from studios to syndication to foreign sales; and
                    (D) the networks own the most popular cable and 
                Internet content businesses.
        Together these changes have strengthened the networks' hands 
        and given them strong incentives to override local interests.
            (6) Unlike non-network-owned stations which are only 
        concerned with local viewers, network-owned stations have 
        multiple interests they must consider: national advertising 
        interests, syndicated programming interests, foreign sales 
        interests, cable programming interests, and, lastly, local 
        station interests.
            (7) The possibility of further nationalization threatens 
        the current give-and-take between non-network-owned affiliates 
        and networks which can result in programming being edited, 
        scheduled, or promoted in ways that are more appropriate for 
        local audiences.
            (8) As network power has grown in recent years, the 
        networks have forced affiliation agreements to tilt the balance 
        of power even more in their favor. Contract provisions encroach 
        on the ability of non-network-owned affiliates to reject 
        programming that local stations determine not to be in the best 
        interests of their local communities, and local stations are 
        penalized for unauthorized preemptions (as determined by the 
        network) and for exceeding preemption baskets.
            (9) This Act will help to preserve localism in and to 
        prevent the further nationalization of the television broadcast 
        service.
    (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to promote the values of localism in the television 
        broadcast service;
            (2) to promote diversity of television programming and 
        viewpoints;
            (3) to promote competition; and
            (4) to prevent excessive concentration of ownership by 
        establishing a limit to the national audience reach of the 
        television stations that any one party may own or control.

SEC. 3. NATIONAL TELEVISION MULTIPLE OWNERSHIP LIMITATIONS.

    (a) Establishment of National Television Multiple Ownership 
Limitations.--Part I of title III of the Communications Act of 1934 is 
amended by inserting after section 339 (47 U.S.C. 339) the following 
new section:

``SEC. 340. NATIONAL TELEVISION MULTIPLE OWNERSHIP LIMITATIONS.

    ``(a) National Audience Reach Limitation.--The Commission shall not 
permit any license for a commercial television broadcast station to be 
granted, transferred, or assigned to any party (including all parties 
under common control) if the grant, transfer, or assignment of such 
license would result in such party or any of its stockholders, 
partners, or members, officers, or directors, directly or indirectly, 
owning, operating or controlling, or having a cognizable interest in 
television stations which have an aggregate national audience reach 
exceeding 35 percent.
    ``(b) No Grandfathering.--The Commission shall require any party 
(including all parties under common control) that holds licenses for 
commercial television broadcast stations in excess of the limitation 
contained in subsection (a) to divest itself of such licenses as may be 
necessary to come into compliance with such limitation within one year 
after the date of enactment of this section.
    ``(c) Section Not Subject to Forbearance.--Section 10 of this Act 
shall not apply to the requirements of this section.
    ``(d) Definitions.--
            ``(1) National audience reach.--The term `national audience 
        reach' means--
                    ``(A) the total number of television households in 
                the Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA) markets in 
                which the relevant stations are located, or as 
                determined under a successor measure adopted by the 
                Commission to delineate television markets for purposes 
                of this section; divided by
                    ``(B) the total national television households as 
                measured by such DMA data (or such successor measure) 
                at the time of a grant, transfer, or assignment of a 
                license.
        No market shall be counted more than once in making this 
        calculation.
            ``(2) Cognizable interest.--Except as may otherwise be 
        provided by regulation by the Commission, the term `cognizable 
        interest' means any partnership or direct ownership interest 
        and any voting stock interest amounting to 5 percent or more of 
        the outstanding voting stock of a licensee.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 202(c)(1) of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1934 (Public Law 104-104; 110 Stat. 111) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``its regulations'' and all that follows 
        through ``by eliminating'' and inserting ``its regulations (47 
        C.F.R. 73.3555) by eliminating'';
            (2) by striking ``; and'' at the end of subparagraph (A) 
        and inserting a period; and
            (3) by striking subparagraph (B).

SEC. 4. NO GRANDFATHERING.

    (a) In General.--Notwithstanding any provision that permits a party 
to exceed the caps on local radio ownership established by the Federal 
Communications Commission in its media ownership proceeding, no party 
shall exceed those caps 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (b) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) In general.--Any term used in this section that is 
        defined in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
        U.S.C. 153) has the meaning given that term in that section.
            (2) Media ownership proceeding.--The term ``media ownership 
        proceeding'' means the Federal Communications Commission 
        proceeding on broadcast media ownership rules (MB Docket No. 
        02-277, MM Docket No. 01-235, MM Docket No. 01-317, and MM 
        Docket No. 00-244).

SEC. 5. CLARIFICATION OF CONGRESSIONAL INTENT WITH RESPECT TO OWNERSHIP 
              RULES REVIEW.

    Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is amended to 
read as follows:
    ``(h) Further Commission Review.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Commission shall review its rules 
        adopted pursuant to this section, and all of its ownership 
        rules biennially as part of its regulatory reform review under 
        section 11 of the Communications Act of 1934 and shall 
        determine whether--
                    ``(A) any rule requires strengthening or 
                broadening;
                    ``(B) any rule requires limiting or narrowing;
                    ``(C) any rule should be repealed; or
                    ``(D) any rule should be retained.
            ``(2) Change, repeal, or retain.--The Commission shall 
        change, repeal, or retain such rules pursuant to its review 
        under paragraph (1) as it determines to be in the public 
        interest.''.

SEC. 6. PUBLIC HEARING REQUIREMENT.

    Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is amended by 
adding at the end ``Before making any determination under this 
subsection concerning an ownership rule or regulation, the Commission 
shall hold no less than 5 public hearings in different areas of the 
United States with respect to that rule or regulation.''.

SEC. 7. RESTORATION OF CROSS-OWNERSHIP RULES.

    (a) In General.--The cross-media limits rule adopted by the Federal 
Communications Commission on June 2, 2003 pursuant to its proceeding on 
broadcast media ownership rules (MB Docket No. 02-277, MM Docket No. 
01-235, MM Docket No. 01-317, and MM Docket No. 00-244) is hereby 
declared null and void. The rules pertaining to broadcast-newspaper and 
radio-television cross-ownership in effect on June 1, 2003 are hereby 
reinstated as they were in effect on June 1, 2003, and shall be applied 
by the Commission retroactively to June 2, 2003.
    (b) Rural State Exemption.--Notwithstanding anything to the 
contrary under the Commission's broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership 
rules, in a small market with a Designated Market Area of 150 or 
higher, the public utility commission of the State or States in which 
such market is located may recommend, on a case-by-case basis, that the 
Commission grant a waiver of such cross-ownership rules if the public 
utility commission finds that the proposed transaction for which the 
waiver is required will enhance local news and information, promote the 
financial stability of a newspaper, radio station, or television 
station, or otherwise promote the public interest. The Commission may 
approve such recommendation within 60 days after the Commission 
receives it unless there is compelling evidence that the transaction to 
which the recommendation relates would be contrary to the public 
interest. If the Commission grants the recommended waiver each 
newspaper, radio station, and television station covered by the waiver 
shall maintain a separate editorial board and the editorial views of 
each of those boards shall be broadcast or printed, as the case may be, 
whenever the editorial views of one of the other boards are broadcast 
or printed.




                                                       Calendar No. 270

108th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                                S. 1046

                          [Report No. 108-141]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to preserve localism, to foster 
  and promote the diversity of television programming, to foster and 
    promote competition, and to prevent excessive concentration of 
        ownership of the Nation's television broadcast stations.

_______________________________________________________________________

                           September 3, 2003

                       Reported with an amendment