Copps Talks Comcast/NBCU On Visit To Allbritton Facilities

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Federal Communications Commissioner commissioner Michael Copps got a tour of Allbritton's Washington operations (WJLA TV, Politico and Newschannel 8) last week, where executives for all three talked about the "grave" implications of the deal on competition in the Washington market.

Allbritton, which is a major critic of the deal, has argued that it would give Comcast/NBCU the ability to favor its own station in the market--WRC--and its own news content over that of NewsChannel 8.

According to an FCC ex parte filing about the Copps field trip, the executives, which included Allbritton Chairman Robert Allbritton, company President Fred Ryan and station manager Bill Lord, focused on reports that WRC was planning to launch a local news channel in competition to NewsChannel 8.

Allbritton has been pushing for divestiture and programming nondiscrimination conditions on the deal.

The execs also talked about the combination of Comcast's Spotlight sales team with WRC-TV given that Spotlight currently also represents Cox Cable in Fairfax, Va., (a Washington suburb) as well.

The FCC and NBC are still vetting the proposed $30 billion joint venture between the two companies.

Allbritton execs asked the commissioner to "take time to carefully assess the deal's critical implications on competition and independent news voices" in the D.C. market.

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