By: Todd Shields

Company Wants Government To Loosen TV Regs

The Tribune Co. wants federal regulators to let it to use Florida newspaper reporters in preparing television newscasts, a move the company hopes will lead to gains in South Florida’s competitive broadcast market. The request was filed late Monday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington.

It asks that the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel’s news staff of more than 360 reporters and editors be allowed to contribute toward a new news broadcast on WBZL, a local Tribune-owned television station. It now buys news programming from the local NBC affiliate, WTVJ.

The hitch for the Tribune arises from the 25-year-old rule barring common ownership of daily newspapers and broadcast stations in the same market. After acquiring WBZL’s parent company in 1996, Tribune agreed to hold the station’s operations separate from those of the Sun-Sentinel. In return it faced no regulatory pressure to sell either property.

Like other newspaper companies, Tribune is impatient to see an end to the cross-ownership rule. The FCC in May said it might modify the rule, heightening Tribune anticipation that it might be able to use the Sun-Sentinel to bolster its TV news presence in South Florida. Tribune’s appetite grew all the stronger when it recently won permission to open a news bureau in Havana, the Cuban capital and a source of news of keen interest to many South Florida residents.

Todd Shields ( is the Washington editor for E&P.

Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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