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FCC Wants to End TV, Newspaper Ownership Rules

Published: Thursday April 6, 2006

In a message that undoubtedly warmed the hearts of large media concerns such as Tribune Co., Gannett Co. and Media General, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin delivered a sharp critique of regulations preventing newspaper publishers from owning TV stations in the same markets, and pleaded with other publishers to lobby more vigorously for its repeal, AD AGE reports Thursday. (Since it's registration restricted, we've reprinted excerpts. Full story here.

Mr. Martin, a Republican who replaced Michael Powell as chairman last March, was already on the record as an opponent of the cross-ownership rule, but the sharp language he used today suggests its demise -- or at least the latest push for it -- may be imminent.

In comments to the Newspaper Association of America yesterday, Mr. Martin derided the 26-year-old rule as an outdated product of an era predating the Internet and cable TV.

"A lot has changed since those days of disco and leisure suits," he said. "But the public has not been convinced of the need for the change, and if you all are unable to get this done, our prospects of doing so are dim," Martin told the assembled publishing executives.