Caps Magic Number: 39%

Late last month, the Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders reached an agreement to raise the national TV ownership cap to 39% of television households. The 39% cap represents a compromise between the FCC’s 45% limit and the 35% limit that Congress desires. The agreement is part of a spending bill that funds the FCC as well as other federal agencies in fiscal year 2004.

As this went to press, the House was scheduled to vote on the measure on December 8. While there is no certainty that the bill would pass, failure would mean that CBS and Fox would have to sell at least one station each to comply with the 35% cap.