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FCC makes public changes to national TV audience reach limit rules

The FCC released March 1 an order adopted in August 2006 to conform its media ownership rule specifying a limit on national reach to provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, which the president signed into law in January 2004.

The law specified 39 percent as the maximum aggregate national audience reach for a single television station owner and included language to give those exceeding the limit from the grant, transfer or assignment of an additional commercial TV license two years to divest of holdings to come into compliance with the limit. The law excluded those who exceed the limit due to population growth.

The FCC order revises the agency's rules to comply with the law. It took the action without prior notification of the public or establishing a comment period because the law mandates the rule changes.

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