FCC Issues Temporary Waiver for WWOR/New York Post Combo

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC’s Media Bureau is keeping the status quo for WWOR/New York Post while it awaits a court decision on new media ownership rules, granting a temporary waiver for continued cross-ownership.

Fox Corp has been seeking a permanent waiver for its common ownership of WWOR-TV and the New York Post. Under the current media ownership rules, without a waiver, common ownership of a daily newspaper and a broadcast station serving the same geographic market—New York City in this case—is prohibited.

Whether or not this newspaper-broadcast ownership rule is still needed has been a point of debate with the FCC for some time now. The commission previously extended a temporary waiver for the WWOR/New York Post combination in 2001, 2006 and 2014. 

In 2017, the FCC eliminated the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, which would make the WWOR/New York Post combination legal. However, because of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the new media ownership rules were reversed, including the newspapers-broadcast ownership rule. This is why a waiver is still needed for WWOR/New York Post.

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The FCC is challenging the Third Circuit Court ruling, taking the case before the Supreme Court on Jan. 19, 2021.

“The media marketplace has changed significantly since the adoption of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule in 1975, resulting in repeated commission efforts to modernize the rule,” the FCC said in its statement granting the waiver. “Given the pending Supreme Court review of this rule, and the commission’s 2017 determination, which was unchallenged in the Third Circuit litigation, that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule is no longer necessary to preserve competition or viewpoint diversity, the commission determined that it was appropriate to grant a temporary waiver as opposed to a permanent one, until the status of the rule has been resolved.”

If the FCC’s new newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule is affirmed by the Supreme Court, the temporary waiver will remain in place for 180 days until the FCC reaffirms its updated rule, making the cross-ownership between WWOR and the New York Post permanent.