FCC proposes top-five-market trios


TV "triopolies" would be permitted in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston
and Philadelphia under proposed Federal Communications Commission changes to
media-ownership rules, according to a source tracking the proceeding, but the
three-station clusters would be prohibited among the top four-rated stations in
a market.

As for other rule changes, duopolies would be permitted in any market as long
as six separately controlled stations remained after the deal (earlier
speculation had put that number at four).

The same would apply to local cross-ownership of a TV station and local

Effectively, this means TV duopolies and TV/newspaper combinations would be
permitted in nearly all of the largest 100 markets.

In radio: Allowable large-market radio/TV combos would be increased from six
radio stations and two TV stations to eight and two.

Local-market measurement would be tightened by relying on BIA Financial Market
designations rather than today's complex signal-contour model that many say
exaggerates the number of stations in a market.

That change would hurt Clear Channel Communications Inc. Several of its acquisitions in small
and midsized markets are delayed pending the rule change and will likely now be

Already-approved deals that violate the new rule could be retained, however,
or sold as intact clusters, but only once.