Less than half a loaf6/04/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern
The FCC last week gave some TV broadcasters a break by saying it would entertain the possibility of broadcast/newspaper crossownerships in the same market. But it was what the FCC didn't give that may break the industry, at least as far as the traditional network model.
The FCC's refusal to raise the 35% cap on a network's station ownership continues their second-class citizenship in the media competition and could well destine them to a life as cable channels or footnotes in communications textbooks.
We have been for total deregulation for going on seven decades now. At first it was a matter of principle. Lately, it has been a matter of survival. In a world with DBS, cable and the Internet, anything that limits broadcasters' means to be competitive and, yes, profitable threatens the much vaunted-and rightly so-free, over-the-air system. To suggest that raising the cap would give them a corner on the media world is ludicrous. Their corner of the media world has been shrinking for years.