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Friday, November 02, 2007

Multiple ownership heats up, final FCC public hearing set for Nov. 9

From Broadcast Law Blog:
This afternoon the [Federal Communications] Commission announced that it will hold its sixth and final public hearing on media ownership issues in Seattle, Washington on Friday, November 9, 2007. The hearing will be held from 4 to 11 p.m. at the Town Hall in Seattle, and will conclude the Commission's tour around the country to gather information on media ownership to assist it in reworking its media ownership and cross-ownership rules. More importantly, the timing of this final public hearing seems consistent with Chairman Martin's publicly announced target of wrapping up the Commission's reconsideration of the multiple ownership rules by the end of the year.

The Chairman apparently remains undeterred by congressional calls to slow the rule making process down. Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee announced that it would hold a hearing on media ownership on Tuesday November 6, and today the House Energy & Commerce Committee has followed suit by announcing that it will hold its own hearing on the issue on December 6. While these hearings may put more pressure on the Commission to refrain from enacting new rules this year, by concluding its ownership tour next week, the Commission appears to still be aiming for a December action on the issue. And according to at least one news article, the Chairman is aiming to publicly outline his media-ownership proposals by November 13, in theory to advance those proposals before a vote at the next FCC Open Meeting tentatively set for December 18.

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