Senate Panel to Take Up FCC Rules


The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled Thursday to consider
overturning some or all new broadcast-ownership rules adopted by the Federal
Communications Commission in June, moving just days after the major broadcast
networks launched a lobbying offensive to protect their gains at the
GOP-controlled agency.

A spokesman for the committee said the panel would take up the FCC's new
budget at Thursday's meeting.

In July, the House used the FCC's spending bill to overturn a new rule that
would allow ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox to purchase more stations and reach up to 45%
of all U.S. TV households, up from 35%.

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations panel is Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), a
strong supporter of the 35% cap. In June, he helped the Senate Commerce
Committee to approve his 35% cap bill and to add to it a provision that would
overturn the FCC decision to allow TV stations and newspapers to combine in the
same market.

Perhaps coincidentally, the FCC's new rules also take effect Thursday. On
Wednesday, a federal court in Philadelphia is to hear arguments on a motion to
stay the rules for the duration of the litigation.

Meanwhile, the "Big Four" networks Tuesday released a poll by The Luntz
Research Cos. as part of a broader lobbying effort designed to show Capitol Hill
that the public was not convinced that the FCC's new rules would harm consumer