Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 6:16am
BROADCASTERS READY TO DEAL IN WASHINGTON
[SOURCE: tvnewsday, AUTHOR: Kim McAvoy]
Gannett and Media General, multimedia companies with substantial newspaper and TV station interests, are quietly floating a proposal under which the FCC would grant waivers of the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule if the stations involved in the crossownership situations accept increased public interest obligations. Details of the proposal are sketchy. But it is believed that the companies have suggested that their stations would air at least five hours of local news a week and hold public forums every quarter. Groups opposed to media consolidation don't like the idea of quid pro quo. â€œNo increased public interest obligations are going to override the concern we have about diversity,â€ says Derek Turner, research director for Free Press. â€œWhatever proposal they'll float around, I don't think it will really get a lot of traction with the Democrats at the FCC, and not with the public interest community and, I doubt, with people up on the Hill.â€ However, many broadcasters believe the key House lawmakers -- Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell and Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Markey -- are inclined to deal.
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