FCC loosens cross-media ownership rules

Dec. 18, 2007 at 8:29 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. communications regulators voted Tuesday to ease media ownership rules in some markets and issued reprieves to some companies that may be affected.

By a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission approved a rule allowing media companies to own a newspaper and television station in the country's 20 largest markets, The Wall Street Journal reported. It also approved requirements for companies seeking cross-media ownership in smaller markets and issued 42 permanent waivers to companies currently owning both.

"The revised newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule would allow a newspaper to purchase a broadcast station -- but not one of the top four television stations -- in the largest 20 cities in the country as long as eight independent voices remain," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement. "This relatively minor loosening of the ban ... in markets where there are many voices and sufficient competition will help strike a balance between ensuring the quality of local news-gathering while guarding against too much concentration."

The FCC didn't hear a measure that would affect cable companies' service areas .

A bipartisan group of 25 senators sent Martin a letter warning they would seek legislation if the FCC relaxed the cross-media ownership rule.

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