FCC Proposes Loosening TV/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Ban...Again

Commission Also Wants to Scrap Radio/TV, Radio/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Bans

According to commission sources, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has circulated a media ownership order that loosens the newspaper/TV cross-ownership ban in the top 20 markets and gets rid of the ban on radio/TV cross-ownership and radio/newspaper cross-ownership.

The FCC will loosen the newspaper-TV cross-ownership ban by finding that cross-ownerships in the top 20 markets are presumptively in the public interest, along the lines of changes made by the FCC under former chairman Kevin Martin in 2007.

Broadcasters had been pushing the FCC to scrap the ban, rather than just loosen it, and to provide some relief from local market ownership caps.

According to sources, the FCC also circulated its ownership diversity report -- the so-called 323 report -- to the commissioners Tuesday. That report shows that minorities and women are still underrepresented in the station ownership ranks and have not made much headway in full-power TV station ownership in the past couple of years, with Latinos and women making some headway, but African-Americans losing ground.

Various minority groups had recently urged the commission not to take any action on media ownership rule changes until it gauges their impact on ownership diversity per a remand of various diversity initiatives by the Third Circuit.