US: FCC Chairman Refuses to Delay Vote

Michael K. Powell, the Federal
Communications Commission chairman, rejected today a
request from two commissioners to delay a decision on
overhauling rules governing ownership of newspapers and TV
and radio stations.

The two commissioners, both Democrats, had asked Mr. Powell
on Tuesday to push back a June 2 vote by a month to give
them more time to study an agency proposal that recommends
easing ownership restrictions.

"There is precedent for granting such a request," Mr.
Powell said, "but it is not customary to do so over the
strong objections of a majority of commissioners."

Mr. Powell and the two other Republicans on the commission,
which has five members, favor loosening regulations, an
outcome sought by many large media companies.

Mr. Powell said he also needed to meet a timetable set by

The proposed plan would allow companies to own more TV
stations in local markets, reaching more homes. It would
also eliminate many restrictions on one company's owning
combinations of newspapers and TV and radio stations in the
same city.

Michael J. Copps, one of the Democratic commissioners, said
Mr. Powell was rushing to vote on proposals that could
change the media landscape in ways not fully understood.

AMP Section Name:Privatization
  • 180 Media & Entertainment
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