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FCC chairman proposes revision to cross-ownership rule

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  1. Content Restrictions
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin Tuesday proposed revising a ban on a single company owning a newspaper and TV…

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin Tuesday proposed revising a ban on a single company owning a newspaper and TV or radio station in the same market.

Under Martin’s proposal, which will require the vote of the full commission, a merger that combines a big daily newspaper with a TV or radio station would be allowed in any of the nation’s top 20 largest markets if at least eight separately owned “major media voices” — including TV stations or major newspapers — remain after the deal. Also, cross-ownership deals could not involve any of the top four TV stations in a market.

“I think this is both a moderate and fair proposal,” Martin told the Associated Press.

But critics, including Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, argue the proposal gives one company too much influence.

Copps and Adelstein released a joint statement Tuesday, calling Martin’s plan “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

“Don’t let the wool be pulled over your eyes,” they said. “The proposal could repeal the ban in every market in America, not just the top twenty. Any city, no matter how small, could be subjected to newspaper broadcast ownership combinations under a very loose standard.”