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FCC chief wants to loosen media ownerships

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The chief U.S. media regulator wants to scrap a long-standing rule banning a company from owning both a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, wants the action on that rule and others within the next two months, a plan that would be a big victory for some media conglomerate executives, if successful, the New York Times said Thursday.

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Among them would be Rupert Murdoch, who has sought for years to continue controlling the New York Post and a Fox TV station in New York, and Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company.

The proposal appears to have the support of a majority of the five commission members, agency officials said.

“We’ve been collecting data for the last 18 months and the issues have been pending for years,” Martin told the Times. “I think it is an appropriate time to begin a discussion to complete this rule-making and complete these media ownership issues.”

Officials said the commission also would consider loosening the restrictions on the number of radio and television stations a company could own in the same city.

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