FCC formally proposes ending Main Studio rule

With some exceptions, all radio stations are required to have a “main studio”, which is open and staffed during business hours within close proximity to the community of service where the radio station is located.

FCC proposal

The new Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has formally published the proposal to end the main studio rule. The rule already is significantly ignored and enforcement tends to be on a “we want to punish someone” basis for unrelated reasons – not that the public has any actual interest in visiting a physical office to review the public inspection file, which the FCC now allows people to view on the FCC website.

Long term, I’m not sure that this is a good thing. Right now there is at least a minimal presence in the communities – that cumulus and Iheart are likely to end to save money. Combined with relaxing foreign ownership rules, American Radio will become great again with unstaffed stations carrying programming from Mexico City.

The proposal does retain the requirement that the station have a local phone number, but that is close to a meaningless requirement. It is trivial to acquire a phone number without regard to where the answering phone is physically located. The only possible benefit is the call is a local call to the caller, but relatively few people still use land lines with a local calling area

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7 Responses to FCC formally proposes ending Main Studio rule

  1. Parrott says:

    Yeah , thats bad news like the Republican/schumer budget. Not helpful at all, unless you are a schumer-ite and on EBT eating frozen pizza everyday . Then its a good budget.
    BS , they are not reducing taxes, they want to increase the federal gas tax. Just shift that tax over somewhere else. They don’t EVER reduce taxes.
    Close the FCC down with the EPA, especially if they are not going to do anything constructive. Just let radio stations just go ‘wild-west’, blast Cuba, just go howard stern.
    Might as well, ‘Pad Thai’ isn’t doing anything to help,

  2. TheChairman says:

    Prepare to hear syndicated and synchronized PSA ‘calls to prayer’ 5 times a day.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Buying up iHeartMedia and Cumulus would be pocket change for the Saudi Royal Family. Their crude income is around $250 million a day. You would not need the total amount of the debt to acquire a controlling interest.

      The FCC is also looking at dropping the “sub caps” on per market license counts. Today, one “owner” is limited to owning at most 8 stations in a market (ie New York City), but no more than 5 can be AM or FM (translators don’t count)


      So in theory, if iHeart Media had half a billion in cash lying around, they could sell WOR-AM and buy three full power FM stations in New York.

      If I was king of the FCC, I would go in the opposite direction – count each class C FM license as three points toward the cap – to push the corporate owners to squeeze onto HD channels and free up frequencies for more diverse and useful programming.

      • briand75 says:

        I am with you, Fred. I think a point system of some sort would be easy to implement and administer. It frees the station type to be AM or FM with the owner groups responsible for the points.

        I am still liking Ajit Pai. I listen to him when possible and haven’t found too much not to like. Am I missing something?

        • Fred Stiening says:

          The NAB convention was last week (radio and TV) and he was gettimg standing ovations. He might be a little thin on the legalisms of broadcast law, but that’s why the FCC have lawyers on retainer

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