Broadcasters Ask Supremes for Extension


A half-dozen or so parties have asked the Supreme Court for more time to prepare their appeals of the Third circuit court's stay and remand of Federal Communications Commission ownership rules.

The rules, which would have loosened a number of radio and TV ownership restrictions (and tightened some for radio)  were adopted in June 2003, but immediately challenged. Now the broadcasters, and possibly the FCC, are challenging back.

So-called writs of certiorari are due Dec. 2, but petitioners are asking for an extra month to get their acts together. Petitioners for more time included the FCC, NBC/Universal, Fox, Viacom, Sinclair, Media General, Belo, Gannett, and the Newspaper Guild. NAB and Tribune are expected to follow suit.

Such requests are routinely granted, according to Andrew Schwartzman of Media Access Project, who helped get the rules sent back to the FCC. Expect the petitions by Jan. 3, 2005.

While filing the requests for extension, several petitioners suggested where their arguments were headed. Look for broadcasters to ask the court to review whether its 1969 Red Lion decision upholding scarcity as a rationale for regulation, continues to apply.