Belo to McCain: Focus on Must-Carry


Belo Corp. thinks Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would make better use of his
time by focusing on cable carriage of digital-broadcast signals than on efforts
to overturn broadcast-ownership rules adopted in June by the Federal
Communications Commission.

Belo pitched the change of direction in a June 16 letter to McCain, chairman
of the Senate Commerce Committee who is reviewing the FCC's ruling and broader
media-ownership trends. Belo's letter, which was not released by McCain's
office, appeared in an FCC database last week.

Dallas-based Belo -- a $1.3 billion company that owns 19 television stations,
six cable channels and four newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News
-- told McCain the FCC's new rules should be given time in the market.

During that period, Belo said, lawmakers and regulators should get on with
nonownership matters in a manner that strengthens local TV stations against
cable and satellite companies and against the "Big Four" broadcast networks.

"The best focus of the committee's time, in our estimation, is in addressing
digital must-carry for television licensees like Belo, including the right to
the entire spectrum licensed to us," Belo said in a three-page letter signed by
president and CEO Robert W. Decherd.