Tribune says it needed the waiver in order to sell the company to investor Sam Zell by the end of November--or the deal would not happen. A vote by FCC commissioners is scheduled for November 30.
Even before the Tribune deal, Martin proposed allowing cross-ownership in top 20 markets for weak TV stations--those not among the top-four-rated stations. Martin's idea was to allow cross-ownership to help stations in need.
The one problem for Tribune would be its ownership of WTXX-TV and The Hartford Courant, which is outside the top 20 markets.
Tribune didn't get all that it wanted--originally asking for waivers with no time constraints. But Martin said that request was too open-ended.
Two of Tribune's biggest media assets--WGN in Chicago and Chicago Tribune--are unaffected, since the ownership of both was grandfathered when the cross-ownership ban was adopted in 1975.