U.S. FCC votes to limit TV stations' banding on advertising sales

WASHINGTON, March 31 Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:46pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - U.S. communications regulators voted along party lines Monday to limit so-called joint sales agreements among broadcasters, deals that allow TV stations to share advertising staff, though promising to respond to any waiver request within 90 days.

The Federal Communications Commission approved, in a 3-2 vote, new rules that would count a broadcaster as having an ownership interest in any station where that owner sells 15 percent or more of weekly advertising time.

Broadcasters that currently have such deals get two years to divest or apply for waivers, for instance arguing that the joint sales sharing agreement has no influence on programming or actually promotes localism and competitiveness of local TV. (Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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