Skip to main content

Triopolies must clear test of 18 TV voices

More details are eking out of the Federal Communications Commission regarding
chairman Michael Powell's plan to reshape the media landscape.

Three-station TV "triopolies" would be permitted in markets with 18
separately controlled stations.

As reported Thursday, the new rule would permit triopolies in the nation's
five largest markets, although San Francisco-San Jose, Calif., appeared to replace Houston
under the 18-voice standard.

The provision is a big win for NBC, which is under orders to sell KWHY-TV Los
Angeles, one of three outlets it owns in the city.

Cross-ownership of local newspapers and TV stations would be permitted in
markets with four separately controlled stations, translating to roughly the
country's largest 150 markets.

That standard is more relaxed than the six-station test reported Thursday.

The four-station requirement was added at the late stages of drafting in
order to mollify commissioner Kevin Martin, who has impatiently pushed the
commission to lift the 1970s-era ban on local ownership of both broadcast and
newspaper outlets.

For TV duopolies, the previously reported six-station test remains the

Powell did not give any indication Thursday that he
would grant Democratic commissioners' request to delay the scheduled June 2 vote
by one month.

Heavy lobbying over the duopoly test continues, with the National Association
of Broadcasters trying to eliminate a provision barring deals between any of a
market's four top-rated stations.