Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tribune Appeals Waiver Denial

By Radio INK - December 6, 2007
CHICAGO -Tribune Co. has filed an appeal of the FCC's denial of its request for indefinite waivers of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

The FCC last week cleared the way for Tribune to complete its $8.2 billion buyout by granting Tribune waivers for two years, or six months after the end of litigation connected to the denial of open-ended waivers (or FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's ownership-rules revision), whichever is longer.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who voted against the Tribune approval, predicted in his dissenting statement that the company would "run to the courthouse door" to trigger an automatic waiver of at least two years. "Presto!" he wrote "Tribune gets at least a two-year waiver plus the ability to go to court immediately and see if they can get the entire rule thrown out."

Tribune has grandfathered cross-ownership waivers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Hartford that wouldn't ordinarily have passed to its new owners, so it needed new waivers to complete its buyout deal. As part of the FCC's approval last week, Tribune got a permanent waiver of the cross-ownership ban in Chicago, where it owns its lone radio property, WGN-AM

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