FCC Eliminates Broadcast-Attribution Rule

Broadcasters scored a victory at the Federal Communications Commission Monday
as the agency agreed to lift an ownership restriction that in theory made some
deals hard to complete.

The FCC, in a 3-1 vote, said it was reinstating its
single-majority-shareholder rule, under which a minority investment would not be
attributable if the company had a single share owner with more than 50 percent
of the stock.

Under this change, one TV-station company could own a 49.9 percent stake in
another that had a single majority share owner without bumping into various FCC
ownership caps applying locally and nationally.

The FCC eliminated the single-majority-shareholder exemption for the cable
industry, but in March, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit reversed the commission's decision, saying that the agency failed to
justify its move.

The FCC said broadcasters and cable operators could avail themselves of the
single-majority-shareholder exemption until it has completed its review of broad
cable-ownership policies.

Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, said extending the
single-majority-shareholder exemption to broadcasters was unjustified.

'Broadly as it may have affected our cable-ownership rules, the D.C. Circuit
decision did not address any rules governing broadcast ownership or
attribution,' Copps said.