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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

DA 01-1264
Released: May 22, 2001


Comment Date: July 23, 2001
Reply Comment Date: August 22, 2001

On March 8, 2001, Network Affiliated Stations Alliance (NASA) filed a Petition for Inquiry into Network Practices (Petition). NASA’s Petition asked the FCC to institute an inquiry as to whether certain alleged practices of the top four television networks with respect to their affiliates are consistent with the Commission’s network rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.658; the Communications Act; and the public interest. In addition, NASA asked that the Commission examine, in the inquiry, what additional steps it should take to “limit or prevent other improper network conduct not deemed to violate existing rules.” In a letter, dated May 2, 2001, submitted to the Commission, counsel for NASA urged that the Commission treat its Petition as a petition for declaratory relief.1 In response to this letter, the four major networks raised procedural concerns about the NASA Petition and denied that they had violated the Commission’s rules.2 As indicated in the Petition and subsequent letters from NASA and the top four networks, the parties disagree as to whether the Commission should take action with respect to the Petition, and, if so, as to the procedural context of any such Commission response. No decision has been reached as to this issue and none is expressed or implied by our action here.

By this Public Notice, comment is sought on the Petition and the responses to the Petition. Interested parties may submit comments on or before July 23, 2001, and reply comments on or before August 22, 2001. Comments and replies should specifically reference this Public Notice (DA 01-1264). Commenters must file an original and four copies of all comments and reply comments with the Commission’s Secretary:
Magalie Roman Salas
Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., SW
Room TW-A325
Washington, D.C. 20554
Ex parte status: In order to permit a full exchange of views on the multiple issues raised in the Petition, and given NASA’s clarification that it is seeking a declaratory ruling rather than specific enforcement action, we have concluded that the public interest would be served by classifying this proceeding as permit-but-disclose under the ex parte rules. Accordingly, by this Public Notice, and pursuant to Section 1.1200(a) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.1200(a), we announce that this proceeding will be governed by permit-but-disclose ex parte procedures that are applicable to nonrestricted proceedings under Section 1.1206 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.1206.

Permit-but-disclose ex parte procedures permit interested parties to make ex parte presentations to the Commissioners and Commission employees and require that these presentations be disclosed in the record of the relevant proceeding. Persons making a written ex parte presentation to the Commissioners or Commission employees must file the written presentation with the Commission, as set forth below, no later than the next business day after the presentation. 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(1). Persons making oral ex parte presentations must file a summary of the presentation, as set forth below, and deliver copies to the Commissioners or Commission employees involved with the presentation no later than the next business day after the presentation. 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(2). All ex parte filings must be clearly labeled as such and must reference this Public Notice, DA 01-1264, as well as any other applicable docket or file numbers.

An original and one copy of all memoranda must be filed with the Commission's Secretary, Magalie Roman Salas, 445 Twelfth Street, S.W., TW A-325, Washington, D.C. 20554, in accordance with Section 1.1206(b)(1) of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.1206(b)(1). In addition, one copy of each ex parte memorandum should be delivered to each of the following locations: (1) the Commission's duplicating contractor, International Transcription Services, Inc. ("ITS"), 445 Twelfth Street, S.W., Room CY-B402, Washington, D.C. 20554; and (2) Mania K. Baghdadi, Policy and Rules Division, Mass Media Bureau, 445 Twelfth Street, S.W., Room 2-C267, Washington, D.C. 20554. Copies of the Petition and any subsequently filed documents in this matter may be obtained from ITS. The Petition and all subsequently filed documents are also available for public inspection and copying during normal business hours in the Commission's Reference Information Center located at Room CY-A257, 445 Twelfth Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Copies of the filing are available for purchase from:
International Transcription Service, Inc. (ITS)
Room CY-B402
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
(202) 314-3070
(202) 314-3076 (fax)
(202) 484-8831 (TTY)
For further information, contact Mania K. Baghdadi, Policy and Rules Division, Mass Media Bureau, at 418-2120.

1. Letter to Michael Powell, Chairman, from Wade H. Hargrove and Jonathan D. Blake, Counsel for the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance, May 2, 2001.

2. Letter to Michael K. Powell, Chairman, from Maureen O’Connell, Fox Broadcasting Company; Anne Lucey, Viacom, Inc.; Diane Zipursky, National Broadcasting Company, Inc.; and Susan Fox, The Walt Disney Company, May 14, 2001. The foregoing networks have also submitted letters with respect to the ex parte status of the NASA Petition.