Copps: FCC May Need To Revisit Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership

A spokesman for acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps confirmed Thursday that Copps said he believes the FCC may have to revisit newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership restrictions.

The spokesman was confirming a Copps quote reported by Bloomberg, but an aide to Copps said Friday that the acting chairman was not implying that he had changed his opposition to relaxation of the ban, and still believed that the new rule did not meet "the needs of the industry, the economy, or the public."

Currently, the FCC's loosening of the ban has been challenged in court by both broadcasters who think it didn't go far enough, and consumer activists who argue that the FCC had already deregulated the industry too much, so any more was unacceptable.

The job cuts, shuttered dailies and moves to web-only status has drawn the attention of Capitol Hill recently, including a letter to the Justice Department from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggesting it take a broader view of competition when it considers possible media mergers.

But it was unclear just what form that FCC revisit might take. Copps opposed the FCC's decision to loosen the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban last fall, and his successor, Julius Genachowski, has been officially nominated to replace him, which could happen within weeks.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.