Chernin calls NASA flap "silly"

News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin called the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance FCC network grievance filing last month "silly and unfortunate."

Stations need to get past issues like helping to pay to programming, in some way, shape or form, because "stations need us," to obtain costly and quality programs that will draw audiences, Chernin said. James O. Robbins, head of Cox Cable said he'd love to talk to "any network" having problems with affiliates in Cox's service areas about carrying their shows on cable. That was a reference to earlier threats by NBC and ABC to do just that.

NBC's Wright attributed the most recent network-affiliate contretemps to certain "publishing organizations" that have "captured" the National Association of Broadcasters in their bid to have the newspaper-broadcasting cross-ownership rules repealed. It's not a bad strategy, said Wright. It's designed to protect their profit margins and grow them in the future by linking newspapers to TV stations and the Internet for cross media sales efforts. At the same, Wright said he's hopeful the Michael Powell-headed FCC will deregulate broadcasters as well as publishers. - Steve McClellan