Business as usual


Dereg review

The FCC launched two major revisions of media-ownership limits last week by proposing to rewrite restrictions on local broadcast/newspaper crossownership and a cable company's national subscriber reach.

The FCC is considering whether the addition of stations and the creation of the Internet have negated threats to local-media diversity posed by broadcast/newspaper combos since the rule was implemented in 1975.

The commissioners also want input on whether crossownership should be allowed in markets where there are a substantial number of media voices and how relaxing the restriction will affect advertising.

Regarding cable-ownership limits, the commission is considering two approaches to setting a new cap. One would create a new cap. The other "safe-harbor" approach might forbid mergers with unacceptable levels of market power. The FCC is said to be considering three antitrust-style models for measuring market power.

The panel also is reviewing how to alter related channel-occupancy limits barring a cable system from devoting more than 40% of its channel lineup to programming of its affiliated cable networks and how it would tally partial investments toward a cap.


There must be something in the air in Cincinnati. City voters decided that their next mayor will again be an ex-anchor from WLWT-TV, the city's NBC affiliate. Incumbent Charlie Luken, who has been mayor since 1999, and Courtis Fuller, who recently left the station, garnered the one-two spots in the city's open primary and square off Nov. 6.

Fuller received 54% of the vote to Luken's 39%. The two Democrats defeated two independent candidates. Talk-show host Jerry Springer is both a former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati and an ex-WLWT-TV anchor.

Brothers rolls out

HBO's highly promoted Band of Brothers
scored an impressive 17.9 rating with 9.9 million viewers during its two-hour premiere on Sept. 9 among HBO subscribers. The 10-part miniseries, executive- produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, tells the story of a U.S. paratrooper unit in World War II.