Analyst: Martin Majority to Stymie Powell


Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell's erosion in power
will endure and result in less ambitious change to media-ownership rules,
according to an analysis released Friday by The Precursor Group.

The one-page report predicted that Republican member Kevin Martin will
continue to bedevil Powell's deregulatory agenda by forming a majority with the
agency's two Democrats on various media-ownership rulemakings.

The FCC has several broadcast-ownership rules under review but, according to
Precusor, "political dysfunction" at the FCC -- namely, Powell's inability to
prevent Martin's defection from the GOP majority -- will mean that only one rule
is a possible candidate for repeal: the ban on the common ownership of a local
newspaper and a TV station or radio station.

Last month, Martin paired with Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein
to gut Powell's plan to deregulate the Baby Bell phone companies with regard to
residential markets.

"The FCC's biennial review of its media-ownership rules could be decided by
the same three-commissioner majority," Precursor analyst Rudy Baca wrote.

The FCC is reviewing a rule that bars a TV-station group from reaching more
than 35 percent of TV households. CBS and Fox, both of which exceed the cap, are
joining NBC in seeking repeal of the limit.

Baca wrote that the cap would move no higher than 45 percent, "if at