Public Interest Groups Appeal Third Federal Communications Commission Media Ownership Decision

FCC Logo
September 4, 2018

Prometheus Radio Project (“Prometheus”) and Media Mobilizing Project (“MMP”) filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s August 3, 2018 decision adopting an incubator program.

Prometheus and MMP also simultaneously requested the Third Circuit consolidate this new appeal with the previous two pending appeals challenging the Commission’s Quadrennial Review media ownership decisions—the appeal of the Obama Commission’s August 2016 decision and the appeal of the Trump Commission’s November 2017 decision. “In the new incubator decision—as in its previous decisions—the Commission failed take steps that would actually improve ownership diversity,” said Cheryl A. Leanza, counsel for Prometheus and MMP. “The Third Circuit has directed the Commission three times to consider its rulings impact on ownership diversity. The Commission has, again, failed to follow the Third Circuit’s mandate.”

“Consolidation harms diversity in ownership and harms local broadcasting,” said Paul Bame of Prometheus Radio Project, “and trendy incubators are slight-of-hand and don't actually address the diversity requirement.”

Currently the appeals of the 2016 and 2017 decisions by industry and public interest petitioners are consolidated and awaiting appeal in dockets 18-1092 and 17-1107. The Commission’s Quadrennial Review decisions have been reversed three times by the Third Circuit, in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 373 F.3d 372 (3d Cir. 2004) (“Prometheus I”); Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 652 F.3d 431 (3d Cir. 2011) (“Prometheus II”); and Prometheus Radio Project v. Federal Communications Commission, 824 F.3d 33 (3d Cir. 2016) (“Prometheus III”).

Leanza is serving as pro bono counsel for Prometheus and MMP in her capacity at Best, Best & Krieger. She is serving as co-counsel with Andrew Jay Schwartzman and Angela Campbell of the Georgetown Law Center. Press inquiries may be directed to

petition_for_review-c2.pdf844.5 KB
motion_to_consolidate-c2.pdf30.61 KB