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Thinking Over the Cross-Ownership Decision

FHH attorney says Justices refusal to hear appeal takes us back to 1975

What’s the immediate effect of the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear broadcasters’ appeal of the FCC’s latest media ownership proposal?

Not much, according to at least one attorney.

We’ve effectively gone back to 1975 in terms of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, according to Dan Kirkpatrick of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth. That’s because the lower court ruling the Supreme Court let stand last week mostly affirmed the agency’s 2008 order, which did not affirm then FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s attempt to allow limited cross-ownership in the top television markets.

A lower court rejected that revision.

Several broadcasters as well as NAB appealed, saying the ban is unconstitutional. 

Kirkpatrick agrees with our assessment that the Justices refusal to hear the case clears the way for the agency to complete its periodic review of its media ownership rules.