Updated: FCC May Need To Revisit Media Cross-Ownership

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A spokesman for acting Federal Communication Commission chairman Michael Copps confirmed Thursday that Copps said he believes the agency may have to revisit newspaper-broadcast crossownership restrictions.

The spokesman was confirming a Copps quote reported by Bloomberg. However, an aide to Copps said Friday that the acting chairman was not implying that he had changed his opposition to relaxation of the ban, and still believed that the new rule did not meet "the needs of the industry, the economy, or the public."

Currently, the FCC's loosening of the ban has been challenged in court by both broadcasters that think it didn't go far enough, and consumer activists who argue that the FCC had already deregulated the industry too much, so any more was unacceptable.

The job cuts, shuttered dailies and moves to Web-only status has drawn the attention of Capitol Hill recently, including a letter to the Justice Department from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggesting it take a broader view of competiton when it considers possible media mergers.

But it was unclear just what form that FCC revisit might take. Copps opposed the FCC's decision to loosen the newspaper/broadcast crossownership ban last fall, and his successor, Julius Genachowski, has been officially nominated to replace him, which could happen within weeks.

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