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Powell News Putdown Irks Affils

Network affiliates said Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell is relying on bad information to demean their newscasts.

The NAB and the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance penned a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain Wednesday asking the Arizona Republican to ignore Powell’s repeated assertion that network O&Os do a better job of local news than affiliates.

Powell’s claim, a response to McCain’s questions about the TV ownership cap, is based on FCC data that affiliates say ignores that their stations tend to be in smaller markets with less ad revenue. "The commission should explain why it refuses to address … market size," the trade groups told McCain.