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FCC Proposes Loosening TV/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Ban...Again

According to commission sources, FCC chairman Julius
Genachowski has circulated a media ownership order that loosens the newspaper/TV
cross-ownership ban in the top 20 markets and gets rid of the ban on radio/TV
cross-ownership and radio/newspaper cross-ownership.

The FCC will loosen the newspaper-TV cross-ownership ban by
finding that cross-ownerships in the top 20 markets are presumptively in the
public interest, along the lines of changes made by the FCC under former chairman Kevin Martin in 2007.

Broadcasters had been pushing the FCC to scrap the ban,
rather than just loosen it, and to provide some relief from local market
ownership caps.

According to sources, theFCC also circulated its ownership diversity report -- the so-called 323
report -- to the commissioners Tuesday. That report shows that minorities and
women are still underrepresented in the station ownership ranks and have not
made much headway in full-power TV station ownership in the past couple of
years, with Latinos and women making some headway, but African-Americans losing

Various minority groups had recently urged the commission
not to take any action on media ownership rule changes until it gauges their
impact on ownership diversity per a remand of various diversity initiatives by
the Third Circuit.

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.