FCC v. National Citizens Committee
436 U.S. 775 (1978)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

FCC v. National Citizens Committee, 436 U.S. 775 (1978)

Federal Communications Commission v.

National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting

No. 76-1471

Argued January 16, 1978

Decided June 12, 1978*

436 U.S. 775

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

Syllabus

After a lengthy rulemaking proceeding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted regulations prospectively barring the initial licensing or the transfer of newspaper-broadcast combinations where there is common ownership of a radio or television broadcast station and a daily newspaper located in the same community ("co-located" combinations). Divestiture of existing co-located combinations was not required except in 16 "egregious cases," where the combination involves the sole daily newspaper published in a community and either the sole broadcast station or the sole television station providing that entire community with a clear signal. Absent waiver, divestiture must be accomplished in those 16 cases by January 1, 1980. On petitions for review of the regulations, the Court of Appeals affirmed the FCC's prospective ban, but ordered adoption of regulations requiring dissolution of all existing combinations that did not qualify for waivers. The court held that the limited divestiture requirement was arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of § 10(e) of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Held: The challenged regulations are valid in their entirety. Pp. 436 U. S. 793-815.

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