Broadcasters to FCC: Too conservative


WASHINGTON -- Broadcasters and newspaper publishers aren't content with a plan by FCC chairman Kevin Martin to make it easier for one entity to own both properties in a local market.

In documents filed with the commission on Tuesday, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Gannett Co., which publishes 84 local newspapers and USA Today and 23 network affiliates, among others told the commission that Martin's plan is too conservative.

According to the NAB, the FCC needs to annihilate the cross-ownership ban and ease many of the other restrictions such as the one that prohibits one company from owning of more than one TV station in a market and further relax radio ownership restrictions.

"Elimination of the total ban on cross-ownership is clearly supported by the record in this proceeding," the NAB wrote.

Gannett did not go as far as the NAB saying that Martin's proposal was a step forward, but his move to lift the ban in the top 20 markets only if a deal allowed one owner to control both a newspaper and a TV station that was not one of the top four stations in the market is too stilted.

"At a minimum, the Martin proposal should be revised to legalize newspaper/broadcast combinations in the top 20 markets -- even if these collaborations include a top four television station and newspaper -- without the need to seek a waiver."

Martin's plan is scheduled for a commission vote on Dec. 18.