FCC Moves to Ease Media Cross-Ownership Rule in Big Markets

 Win McNamee/Getty Images

The FCC late in the week agreed to move ahead with a proposal to further easing media cross-ownership rules by loosening a rule that bans companies from owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market in the top 20 U.S. media markets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Tribune Co. are seen as beneficiaries of a rule change. They already own TV stations and newspapers in big markets and have operated them thanks to waivers of the current cross-ownership ban.

Back in 2007, the regulator looked at abolishing the 35-year-old ban, but public interest groups challenged the plan. In July, a federal appeals court tossed out the rule change, arguing that the FCC didn't give the public enough time to comment on the issue.

On Thursday, the FCC responded by voting to move ahead with a new proposed rule change that gives the public 45 days to comment, the Journal said. The agency wants to continue to keep limits on how many TV or radio stations one company can own in a local market though.

The FCC's final vote on the rule change isn't expected until April at the earliest, according to the Journal.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai
 

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