Senate Bill Would Put Brakes On FCC Cross-Ownership Vote
November 28, 2007 at 3:27 PM (PT)
On DECEMBER 4th, the SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE will mark up a bill that aims to block the FCC from voting on DECEMBER 18th to relax the newspaper-broadcast station cross-ownership ban.
The panel, which has also scheduled a DECEMBER 13th hearing with the FCC Commissioners, is seeking to slow Chairman KEVIN MARTIN's push to pass new ownership rules before the end of the year (and before, some critics and committee chair Sen. BYRON DORGAN [D-ND] charge, an adequate public comment period). The bill would require publication of rule changes in the FEDERAL REGISTER 90 days before a vote, allowing 60 days for public comment and 30 days for replies, and in addition specifically refers to the cross-ownership rules.
Martin Proposes Two Year Exemption For Tribune
For his part, MARTIN proposed on WEDNESDAY that the FCC could grant TRIBUNE CO. a two year exemption from the present crossownership ban while the dispute over changes in the law remains unresolved. The move came after MARTIN floates a similar six month exemption; the two year exemption could allow the TRIBUNE sale to SAM ZELL to close before the end of the year; if the deal does not close in 2007, TRIBUNE would be liable for penalties to ZELL. TRIBUNE has said in the past that it will need 20 business days after regulatory approval to close the deal.