Perhaps we should call this quarterly exercise the official Britney Spears “Oops – I Did It Again” extension. Companies with cross-owned properties within a local market held together legally by FCC waiver have been asking for a temporary but extended waiver until such time as cross-ownership rules are finally resolved. Instead, the FCC has issued serial quarterly waivers.
The “media parties” that have been seeking the extension include Cox Enterprises Inc.; Calvary Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications.
They want the waiver to extend to 90 days after a final court order signals the end of the cross-ownership dispute.
As usual, the FCC is extending the waiver period by 90 days, to 10/4/10, so it can consider whether or not there is any merit to the temporary extended waiver idea.
RBR-TVBR observation: It seems like the issue is finally coming to a head – concern for the critically-ill newspaper business has softened many regulatory hearts to the concept of cross-ownership, it’s moving through the courts, and it’s part of the in-progress FCC quadrennial review of media ownership regulation.
However, just as soon as a new rule is written and approved, we’ll probably head right back to the courts. Resolution of this issue could still be years away.