Pols Want Speedy Action on Ownership Reform

By: Todd Shields

(Mediaweek.com) Twelve members of Congress, in a letter released Tuesday, urged the Federal Communications Commission not to delay its review of media-ownership rules beyond June.

“Permitting this important proceeding to slip into summer or fall will not make the issues involved any easier to resolve,” said the March 28 letter from four senators and seven representatives to FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

The letter was signed by one Democrat, Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, and 11 Republicans, including House Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, also of Louisiana.

Their message follows a March 19 letter from three Republican senators who sought “an ample comment period” before the FCC acts on new rules.

Powell, a Republican, seemed to brush aside the call for further review, saying last week that he expected a vote on June 2.

In their letter last Friday, the 12 members of Congress said the FCC “has before it an extensive record that provides the factual underpinning for a decision.”

Rules at issue include those that limit the size of TV networks, restrain dominance of local markets by a single broadcaster, and keep daily newspapers from owning nearby radio or TV stations.

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