FCC Would Grant Tribune Cross-Ownership Waiver

Tribune finally got some good news from Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin. He has proposed granting the company up to a two-year waiver for its newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership in some of its markets.

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.



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