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Rodriguez backs Univision-HBC merger

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus,
has written Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell in support
of the merger of Univision Communications Inc. and Hispanic Broadcasting

His letter came one day after one from Hispanic Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.),
which also extolled the merits of the merger and asked that the Spanish-speaking
market not be treated as a separate entity for regulatory purposes. Such
treatment could mean that the deal would be conditioned on significant
divestitures that pare back the size of the merged company.

Speaking for himself and not the caucus, which has taken no official position,
Rodriguez -- whose district is predominantly Hispanic -- argued that the merger
of the two companies will benefit the Hispanic audience by expanding service and
attracting more mainstream advertisers.

He also argued against separating out the Spanish-speaking market, saying
that Hispanic broadcasters "should not be penalized because of their choice of
programming format or the ethnicity of their audience."

Numerous Hispanic congressmen, including House Democratic Caucus chairman
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and at least one member of the House Hispanic Caucus, have
criticized the merger.

Menendez wrote to the FCC in March urging that Spanish-language media be
considered a separate market.