FCC Media Ownership Rules: Current Status and Issues for Congress [Updated August 23, 2004]   [open pdf - 171KB]

"The Federal Communications Commission ('FCC' or 'Commission') adopted an order on June 2, 2003 that modified five of its media ownership rules and retained two others.1 The new rules have never gone into effect. Congress passed the FY2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-199), Sec. 629 of which instructs the FCC to modify one of the rules -- the National Television Ownership rule. […] The FCC reportedly is considering appealing the Third Circuit decision to the Supreme Court, although the two commissioners who dissented from the FCC order have offered a plan for the Commission to hold hearings and town meetings on the media ownership rules within 30 days and to seek public comment on the Diversity Index as part of a new rulemaking proceeding. FCC Media Bureau chief Kenneth Ferree reportedly has stated that the Commission will consider waiver requests from media companies that wish to do transactions that do not meet the rules currently in place. Even if the Commission will consider waiver requests from parties proposing mergers that would not meet the media ownership rules now in effect, however, the Third Circuit's remand and extended stay of the FCC rules is widely expected to retard merger activity in the media sector until all parties' appeal opportunities have been exhausted and final rules are approved by the courts."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31925
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