Media Activist: We’ll Oppose Zell’s Tribune Deal At FCC

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By: E&P Staff

The Media Access Project (MAP) — which organized public opposition to eliminating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ban on same-market ownership of newspaper and broadcast properties — said Monday it would oppose Sam Zell?s deal to take Tribune Co. private.

?A sale to Zell will have to surmount fierce opposition to obtain FCC approval,? MAP President and CEO Andrew Jay Schwartzman told E&P.

Since taking over Times Mirror Co. in 2000 and with an earlier broadcast group purchase, Tribune has been operating both a newspaper and television station in several markets. It anticipated a change in FCC regulation of cross-ownership, and has been running the same-market properties on waivers from the commission.

?Tribune has made another bad choice,? Schwartzman said. ?Seven years ago, it bet that it could change FCC ownership rules to hold on to its co-located newspapers and TV stations in Ft. Lauderdale, Hartford, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. It lost that gamble when citizens groups successfully opposed repeal of those policies.?

Because Zell wants to continue operating both newspaper and broadcast, Schwartzman said, ?this sale will face a long and difficult battle to obtain regulatory approval.?

The FCC is taking another look at the cross-ownership, which current chairman Kevin Martin wants to eliminate.

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