Chicago's Tribune Co. has worked overtime selling the Federal Communications
Commission and Capitol Hill on the idea of eliminating the ban on local
newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership, but it apparently hasn't made much headway with
the hometown folks.
On May 7, the Chicago City Council voted 50-0 to oppose FCC plans to loosen
that restriction and other media-ownership limits.
The vote, sponsored by Alderman Bernard Stone, was no endorsement of Tribune,
which owns the Chicago Tribune as well as WGN television and AM stations in the
market, but it was not necessarily a swipe either, said a local media figure
following the vote.
"The City Council's approach was broader than looking at just Tribune," said
Barbara Popovich, head of Chicago's five cable access channels. "The real
concern is a loss of local commitment that has become very apparent in the
Chicago area, with radio as the most extreme example. Clear Channel [Communications Inc.] now owns six
channels here, and we understand the market's last jazz station is going by the