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'Big Four' to send GMs to Washington - Broadcasting & Cable

'Big Four' to send GMs to Washington

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Making the case that they are committed to local broadcasting, the "Big
Four" broadcast networks are sending their TV-station general managers to
Washington, D.C., next week to visit with lawmakers, according to industry
sources.

The initiative makes good on a promise The Walt Disney Co./ABC’s Preston Padden made last
month after ABC became the last of the networks to quit the National Association
of Broadcasters due to the continuing dispute over the audience-reach cap on TV-station ownership.

The networks want to raise the cap to 45% of TV homes
(which the Federal Communications Commission has already done, but some in Congress are trying to undo). But the network affiliates
that now dominate the NAB want to keep it at 35%.

In the course of that debate, the networks have been angered by
suggestions that their owned stations are somehow inferior or offer less news
and local programming than non-network owned affiliates.

Not only will the network GMs refute those suggestions during their
Washington visit, but they may also argue against legislative efforts to restore
the ownership cap at 35%.

The FCC raised it to 45%
June 2.

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