FCC appends time to amendment period


A trio of media companies was successful in asking the FCC for more time to amendment waiver requests pertaining to the revised newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rules, which were passed by a 3-2 commissioner vote last December but are now, surprise, surprise, hung up in the courts. The deadline for such filings was 10/7/08.

The FCC agreed not only to move the amendment deadline date to 11/7/08, it will use the month to consider a second request from the three companies, that the deadline be left upon pending a court order on the numerous challenges from both sides to the FCC’s 12/18/07 ruling. At that time, the FCC opened cross-ownership combinations to the top 20 Nielsen DMAs.

Some charged that would lead to even more concentration of ownership, while others felt it didn’t go far enough toward the deregulatory rulemaking originally sought by former Chairman Michael Powell back in 2003. The companies seeking the extension were Bonneville International Corp., Scranton Times LP, and Morris Communications.

RBR/TVBR observation: We must have written this a thousand times by now – seems like it anyway – but nobody should be forced to transfer so much as a paper clip while matters are tied up in court, so long as there is a reasonable chance that an active cross-owned combination will pass muster once all the dust clears. The question is, will the dust ever clear? It is now five years, four months and counting since the FCC 6/2/03 rulemaking, and we’re still waiting for the final act.