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FCC plans new ownership hearing

It's not exactly what commissioner Michael Copps had in mind, but Federal
Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell partly granted his colleague's
request for field hearings on proposed media-ownership changes.

Powell announced Wednesday that the FCC will hold one hearing in Richmond,
Va., in February. Copps said last month that he would hold a series of field
hearings on his own if Powell wouldn't commence them.

Powell said Wednesday that severe budget constraints and a spring deadline
for bringing proposals to a vote prevented additional hearings or a location
more distant from Washington, D.C.

To reach additional cities, an aide said, Copps is willing to participate in
additional hearings if outside groups conduct them.

In a formal statement, Copps called the Richmond hearing "a good step
forward." Nevertheless, he added, "I remain convinced that we need to have other
hearings in diverse venues to flesh out the record. We have to find a way to
hear from more folks outside of the Capital Beltway. I am looking for that way
and I am determined to find it."