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Cross-ownership ban on life support?

FCC still under Dem dominance

President Clinton uses a loophole to keep party hardy (for a while)

Susan Ness' regular term has expired, but she will stay on at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Ness, a Democrat, received a recess appointment from President Clinton Dec. 18, a few days after Congress ended its session.

Recess appointments are not subject to congressional review. Ness, an FCC member since 1994, can stay on until the end of 2001 or until Congress confirms a replacement to be named by Republican George W. Bush.

Her continued tenure maintains, if only temporarily, a Democratic majority on the five-member FCC. The alignment is important to newspaper companies, since Ness and her two Democratic colleagues favor retaining the ban on common ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the same media market.

The FCC's two Republicans say the cross-ownership ban has outlived its purpose of preventing a concentration of media voices. They cite the recent proliferation of satellite, cable, and broadcast channels. They want to abolish the restriction.

By law, the president's party gets a majority of FCC members and designates the chairman. That should usher in a different climate from that prevailing under current Chairman William Kennard, who defends the cross-ownership rule and whose term expires in June. An FCC representative said Kennard has not publicly disclosed his plans.

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Title Annotation:Federal Communications Commission
Comment:Cross-ownership ban on life support?(Federal Communications Commission)
Author:Shields, Todd
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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