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Media Ownership Stays in Spotlight

Cross-ownership extension runs out for some

There’s been a development in the media ownership issue before the FCC.

Cox Media, Calvary, Bonneville International, Scranton Times and Morris Communications have until Sept. 27 to amend their pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to ask for permanent waivers of the FCC’s newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.

In its 2006 order, the commission modified the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule and gave licensees with pending waiver requests that involve an existing combination of more than one newspaper and/or more than one broadcast station and entities holding waivers pending the completion of the quadrennial review proceeding 90 days after the effective date of the 2006 orderto either amend their waiver requests or renewal applications or ask for permanent waivers. 

The media companies asked in 2008 that the deadline be delayed until 90 days after a final court order was issued regarding pending judicial challenges to the cross ownership rule.

This January, the Media Bureau gave them an extension on an interim basis. In June, the Supreme Court denied each petition and that denial is not subject to judicial review, said the FCC Tuesday.

Therefore, the commission is giving the broadcasters until Sept. 27 to decide what they want to do, confirming that the current newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in effect.

The agency dismissed as moot the media companies’ request for another extension.

The commission currently has another review of its media ownership rules underway.