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FCC Sets Aggressive Meeting Agenda

The Federal Communications Commission set forth an eight-item agenda for its regular monthly meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Chief among them are the ownership rules that determine who can own what in the way of TV and radios stations, newspapers and other media outlets. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin recently proposed altering a 32-year-old rule prohibiting a company from owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market. Martin’s proposal would allow a single entity to own a newspaper and one TV or radio station in the top 20 markets, as long as eight independently owned media outlets remained in the market. The TV station also can’t be one of the market’s top four.

The so-called “cross-ownership” rule has held up the $8.2 billion sale of the Tribune Co. to Chicago zillionaire Sam Zell, which has to go down by early December to an avoid additional tax charge. Under Martin’s proposal, Tribune would still have to shed some properties in Chicago and Hartford, Conn., unless the FCC grants waivers in those markets.

The FCC agenda for Tuesday also includes an item on expanding low-power FM radio service, something full-power FMs oppose.

Another item involves setting standards and developing a disclosure system for broadcasters to demonstrate their public interest activities and contributions.

The annual video competition report is on deck, in the form of this year’s report to Congress, and an open docket for next year’s report. And finally, an item to modify leased access on cable systems will be considered.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. in the FCC meeting room at 445 12th St. SW in Washington, D.C.