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Tauzin, Upton to FCC: Repeal Cross-Ownership

Tauzin, Upton to FCC: Repeal Cross-Ownership

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., and Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., want the FCC to repeal the newspaper / broadcast cross-ownership rule, which prohibits common ownership of a broadcast station and a daily newspaper in the same market.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the representatives stated, “When the rule was first adopted, there were 7,785 radio stations, 952 television stations, three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC), cable television systems served 13 per cent of television households, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers were nonexistent, and the Internet was not commercially available.
Today, there are approximately 12,900 radio stations, 1,600 full power television stations, 2,390 low power television stations, and 230 Class A television stations. There are now four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), along with other emerging broadcast networks (e.g., UPN and WB). Today, cable television systems serve approximately 70 per cent of television households (with over 200 video programming services available on such systems, including significant news programming). Today, DBS is serving approximately 15 per cent of multichannel video programming distribution households.”
The pair go on to state: “We believe this explosion of media sources should eliminate any concern regarding a lack of diversity of views in the marketplace and competition, which have been the principal justifications for the rule.”