The common sense request of a number of broadcasters who also have same-market newspaper holdings has been put on hold yet again, but the combos get to go on as they are for three more months.
As cross-ownership rules have remained in limbo, the companies — Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications – have repeatedly asked the FCC to simply grant waivers to existing combinations pending ultimate resolution of the matter one way or another, with divestiture time tacked on if required.
The FCC has not said the idea is a bad one — it has simply declined to consider it. Once again, the FCC has added 90 days to continue considering the matter, and will allow companies to file amended waiver applications up until 1/7/10.
RBR-TVBR observation: We wonder if this story, versions of which we’ve written several times, will ever change – and if it ever does, which of two ways it’ll go.
The FCC could either go ahead and say the waivers will be in effect into the matter gets out of the courts or is otherwise finalized, saving everybody a great deal of bother until that mythic event occurs, if it ever does.
Or it could use the upcoming quadrennial review to simply shoot down broadcast/print cross-ownership.
Members of the Democratic majority have said they are not interested in creating hardships for media companies that are already challenged by the economy and other factors. So we sincerely hope that option B will not come to pass and that an FCC-ordered fire sale will become a reality.