Court Lifts Stay On Change In Cross-Ownership Rule
March 23, 2010 at 3:08 PM (PT)
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the stay on the FCC media ownership rules, lifting at least on a temporary basis the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban. The court stayed the revised rule in 2003 but is proceeding with a briefing schedule that commences on or before MAY 17th.
The FCC asked that the stay remain in place or that the case be remanded to the Commission for review, but the court's action puts the looser rules in place while the Commission and broadcasters proceed with briefs against and in support of the changes.
Onetime FCC Chairman MICHAEL POWELL first tried to loosen the ownership rules in 2003. His successor, KEVIN MARTIN, further revised them in 2008. Nevertheless, they were still taken to court over them by both competing parties.
More recently, broadcasters have argued that restrictions on cross-ownership are even less defensible in an increasingly multiplatform world, and that broadcast-online-print synergies may be one way of reinventing and recharging their business model,
"I am pleased that the U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT has decided to move forward promptly with its review of the Commission's 2007 media ownership decision and to lift the stay that until today has frozen in place burdensome ownership rules that are many years out of date." said FCC Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL. "I favor swift action on the pending appellate challenges. The lifting of the stay on the Commission's very modest relaxation of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule is particularly appropriate given the economic upheaval affecting the ongoing viability of many daily newspapers and broadcast stations."
NAB EVP DENNIS WHARTON said, "We're pleased that the court has taken an initial step that could lead to modest reform of outdated media ownership rules."