Lott a Loss for Local Broadcasters

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Local broadcasters lost a key political ally Friday when embattled Sen. Trent
Lott (R-Miss.) resigned his position of Majority Leader effective Jan. 6.

Lott gave up his leadership post after making comments that Mississippi was
proud to have voted for Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) for president in 1948.
Lott's comments offended many, including President Bush, because Thurmond ran as
an implacable opponent of racial integration.

On the regulatory front, Lott was expected to help TV-station groups oppose
an effort at the Federal Communication Commission to allow TV networks to expand
their reach beyond 35 percent of TV households.

More recently, Lott sent FCC chairman Michael Powell a letter with Sen. Larry
Craig (R-Idaho) urging the agency to require cable operators to carry multiple
digital-programming streams that are provided to off-air viewers
free-of-charge.

Lott, 61, is a longtime friend of Mississippi native Edward Fritts, president
of the National Association of Broadcasters. In February, Lott attended an NAB
forum where he indirectly criticized Powell on policy and management
issues.

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