Tribune Co. Must Divest In Florida p.23

By: Mark Fitzgerald THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission's approval of Tribune Co.'s $1.13 billion acquisition of Renaissance Communications attached a big condition: Tribune will have to choose between its Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Renaissance's WDZL-TV in Miami.
Tribune had hoped that FCC commissioners would either jettison its restrictions against TV/newspaper cross-ownership altogether, or at least grant a permanent waiver.
Even as it refused to grant the permanent waiver, however, the FCC revealed its own continuing divisions about the cross-ownership restrictions.
Two of the four FCC commissioners ? James Quello and Rachelle Chong ? criticized the restriction in the Renaissance approval.
"The majority's decision today relies on a newspaper/television ownership rule which, in my opinion, is outdated, over-regulatory, and all too often flies in the face of common sense," Quello said in a statement.
In a Chicago Tribune article by the paper's media writer, Tim Jones, Tribune Co. senior counsel Charles Sennet said the company is considering challenging the ruling.
"We believe the commission was incorrect, but we are hopeful that in the long run and the medium term we will be able to own both the Sun-Sentinel
and WDZL in Miami," Sennet said.
The FCC gave Tribune 12 months to divest itself of either the daily or the TV station.
Tribune did get temporary waivers of the FCC restrictions on so-called broadcast "duopoly" that prohibit ownership of two or more TV properties whose signals overlap. In the Renaissance deal, Tribune will have duopoly situations in Philadelphia and York, Pa.; and in New York City, Hartford, Conn., and Cambridge, Mass.
The Renaissance deal is by far the biggest acquisition in the history of Tribune Co. and propels it into the big leagues of TV ownership. It adds six network-affiliated stations to the 10 stations Tribune already owns.


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