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Ted Turner Blasts New Dereg Plans

Washington— Speaking for himself and not as the largest shareholder at AOL-Time Warner, CNN founder Ted Turner blasted the deregulation rules likely to be approved when the FCC meets today.

The new rules "will stifle debate, inhibit new ideas and shut out smaller businesses trying to compete," he wrote in an op-ed piece in the May 30 edition of The Washington Post.
"If these rules had been in place in 1970, it would have been virtually impossible for me to start Turner Broadcasting, or 10 years later, to launch CNN."

Turner said that an entrepreneur today would have a hard time buying a station and wouldn't be able to buy quality programming or get cable distribution, and he said the FCC's actions will only make that situation worse. "Why should the country care? When you lose small businesses, you lose big ideas. People who own their own businesses are their own bosses. … They know they can't compete by imitating the big guys; they have to innovate." He also warned that consolidation will lead to laying off reporters as news organizations combine news staffs, "downsizing the workforce that helps us see our problems and makes us think about solutions." And while mega-media corporations may pledge that they wouldn't slant news, Turner argues, "it's not their intentions that matter. It's their capabilities." He also predicted public outrage and that politicians will fight the rules: "This isn't over."

Paxson Completes Liquidity Plan

West Palm Beach, Fla.— Paxson Communications on Friday completed the sale of its Albuquerque station, KAPX-TV, for $20 million, to Telefutura Television Group, a unit of Univision Communications. With the sale, Paxson Chairman and CEO Lowell "Bud" Paxson said his company had completed its planned sale of assets and now had over $100 million in cash on hand. Paxson still owns 60 stations.