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Judges to decide on staying rule changes

A panel of federal judges in Philadelphia will decide Wednesday whether to
stay the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadcast-ownership rules or
to let them take effect Thursday, as scheduled.

Public-interest groups have asked that they not take affect until the court
has ruled on appeals to overturn the rules, which raised the cap on one
company’s TV-household reach to 45%, permitted local broadcast/newspaper
cross-ownership and eased restrictions on TV duopolies.

Another challenge to the rules will come Thursday when the Senate Appropriations
Committee votes on a provision that would roll back the ownership cap to the
previous 35% as part of a federal spending bill.

A similar move was approved by the House in July.

Aides to President Bush said he will recommend a veto if the rollback reaches
his desk.