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FCC Overhauls Media Ownership Rules

June 03, 2003

By Bruce D. Ryan, Michelle W. Cohen & Neil R. Fried

Yesterday, in what it described as the “most comprehensive review of media ownership regulation in the agency’s history,” the Federal Communications Commission relaxed four key limits on media concentration, tightened one, and left another unchanged. The FCC’s decision – coming in its third “Biennial Regulatory Review” of ownership rules required under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – follows on the heels of the FCC’s recent repeal of the broadcast/cable cross-ownership rule, and promises to give rise to a wave of new transactions involving TV, radio and newspaper properties throughout the United States. This Alert summarizes the key rule changes in each area and discusses the major implications for future transactions, as well as the potential for further legal proceedings and legislation.