Congressional change to national audience cap delayed until 2004

December 16, 2003

Action on an omnibus spending bill with language that sets the national audience cap for television networks at 39 percent was put off until the Senate returns next month. The bill, which was approved in the House by a 242 to 176 vote, would have undone action taken by the FCC this summer to raise the cap to 45 percent.

In the Senate, Democrats objected to a Republican effort to set the cap at 39 percent without being consulted.

Separately, the FCC filed an appeal last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to dismiss a case brought by consumer activists to undo the newly adopted FCC rules that raised the cap to 45 percent. In September, the appellate court in Philadelphia stayed the FCC rule change on the day it was slated to take effect. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin Feb. 11.

For more information, please visit www.fcc.gov.

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