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Powell to take it inch by inch

Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell is aiming to bring
two of the media industry's most controversial and long-running public-policy
fights down the home stretch.

A massive rulemaking on broadcast-ownership limits is set to be teed off at
the commission's Sept. 12 meeting.

On the docket will be a call for suggested changes to rules limiting national
broadcast ownership, cross-ownership of local radio and TV stations, TV
duopolies and dual TV-network ownership.

Consolidated into that rulemaking will be previously launched proceedings on
local broadcast/TV cross-ownership and local radio concentration.

Less certain is Powell's effort to settle disputes between broadcasters and
the cable industry over must-carry rules in the digital age.

Industry sources speculated that the FCC would seek input on requiring cable
systems to carry stations' entire 6-megahertz digital stream, including
multicast signals and other carriage proposals.

Controversy over the idea and late-August vacations have bogged down
commission discussions, and must-carry may have to wait, sources