Local News

FCC Changes Rule to Shape Local News Future

Posted May 19, 2017
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The FFC this week changes its licensing rules for local stations' community licenses. The FCC has ruled that local TV stations will no longer need to maintain a studio in order to keep its community license -- a rule that has been in place for over 80 years. 

While some in the local news world are calling this "a huge blow" to local news, this is really something that will give local news an opportunity to focus on digital space and abandon an outdated news gathering workflow.

Without the need to maintain a studio, a very costly endeavor, local stations can put that money towards new technology, equipment, more staff, and training for that staff. The TV studio is a relic of the way television was produced in the 20th century: you had big cameras that you couldn't take out into the field, you had to have the satellite uplink, and a central place for all of your news and journalists to meet. The 21st century has pretty much made all of those constraints obsolete: cameras are very small and powerful now, you can use the internet to broadcast when not using the satellite uplink for broadcast, the internet has made news gathering and coordination possible all from remote locations.  

Rather than having 3 crews, giving them assignments in the morning and a deadline in the afternoon and hoping for the best, stations can expand their operation replacing whole crews with just an iPhone, then instead of 3 crews of 4 people there are 12 then broadcast nodes in the area at all times. Moreover, there's no need for the newsroom because assignments and deadlines can all be done through the internet and smartphones.  

Make no mistake: this is the local news operation of the future, and the FCC is helping push stations in that direction, or else they will be left in the dust with nothing but a big useless studio.


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