Unusual Allies Back NBCU Combo

Washington — The Forest Preserve
District of Will County, Ill.; the YWCA
of Silicon Valley; the National Capital
Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking;
the American Cancer Society of
Connecticut; and the San Jose Holiday
Parade all have something in common.

They have all weighed in at the Federal
Communications Commission in
support of Comcast’s merger with NBC
Universal, or at least as corporate character
witnesses to the companies trying
to do the merging. That is from the evergrowing
public docket of comments on
the $30 billion deal.

Scores of charitable partners have
lined up to testify to the all-around
good corporate citizenship of the nation’s
largest cable operator and one of
its iconic studios and station owners.

The Special Olympics, for example,
said NBC will continue to have strong
roots in the community “despite” any
ownership change, while the Pennsylvania
state director of the March of
Dimes went the distance, opining that
the deal would strengthen NBC stations
like WCAU-TV Philadelphia, which has
partnered with the March of Dimes.

The United Neighborhood Organization,
serving Chicago’s Hispanic community,
wished the two companies “all
the success in the world” in their new
venture, thanks to Comcast’s ongoing
support of its Youth Leadership Development
Program. The Arts Council of
Greater Lansing (Mich.) praised Comcast
for supporting free family fun in the city,
including horse-drawn wagon rides.

The prestigious Whitman-Walker
AIDS clinic in D.C. weighed in, praising
NBC’s WRC-TV Washington, but waiting
until the closing paragraph to add:
“We also hope that you will approve the
merger with Comcast.” It, too, cited potential
additional resources the station
would have to help the clinic.

This amen chorus will sound familiar
to anyone around during FCC hearings
on media ownership rules, where
various charitable organizations were
always available to sing the praises of
their station partners.

Comcast acknowledged reaching out
to various groups regarding the deal.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.