The FCC is scrapping the decades-old rule requiring local TV and radio stations to maintain a studio in or near the communities they serve. Critics claim the move will benefit media conglomerates seeking consolidation, and diminish the quality of local reporting. "Technology allows broadcast stations to produce local news even without a nearby studio," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
The Commission added that social media, the internet, and email are now the primary forms of communication between listeners and local broadcasters, rendering the main studio rule "outdated." Still, stations must have a local, toll-free telephone number to ensure their audience can ring them.
The rule dates back to 1940 as a means to make it easier for viewers to visit TV stations. But, the advent of the web (and with it streaming and podcasting) has drastically shifted the media landscape. The National Association of Broadcasters, which supports the FCC's decision, claims the requirement is unnecessary in the "era of mobile news gathering."