FCC Still Considering Crossownership Deadline Request

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The Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline for pending waiver applications, amendments and renewal applications related to its newspaper-broadcast crossownership rules filed by a number of broadcasters.

Cox Enterprises, Calvary Inc., Bonneville, Scranton Times LP and Morris Communications all sought to have the deadlines for those requests and filings moved until 90 days after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issues a final order on its review of challenges to the FCC's most recent ownership rule revise.

The FCC Friday granted a shorter stay -- until Aug. 10. 2009 -- while it considers the request for the 90-days-past-court decision stay. The agency made it clear this stay was not being granted related to the merits of the stay request, but was just to give the commission more time to consider that request.

Actually, the various requests implicated more than a half-dozen open FCC dockets, as illustrated by the order announcing the revised deadline, which was described as "in the matter of seven separate dockets, including its 2006 quadrennial review of its ownership rules, its 2002 biennial review of its rules (that was the predecessor to the quadrennial), its cross-ownership rules, its multiple ownership rules and market definitions for radio, its proposed public interest obligations for TV stations, and more.

Both media companies and public-interest groups challenged the FCC's 2007 rule revise, which loosened the newspaper-broadcast crossownership ban in the top 20 markets and allowed for combos in smaller markets under the waiver system. Media companies argued it was too little deregulation, while public-interest groups countered that any deregulation on top of that already granted was too much.

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