Hollings delivers dereg warning

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Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, warned broadcasters that the deregulation wave was about to hit them.

"Ninety-one percent of all landings and takeoffs from Charlotte, N.C., are controlled by US Airways," Hollings said, speaking before NAB's annual State Broadcasters convention in Washington. "That's what the networks are going to do to you."

The broadcast networks have been pushing hard to do away with an ownership restriction that keeps companies from owning more stations than cover 35% of national audience share. Hollings also told broadcasters that he supports rules that would require cable to carry broadcasters' high-definition television signal, but does not think cable companies should be required to carry six channels of standard-definition TV.

Moreover, Hollings said broadcasters told Congress in the late eighties that they wanted the digital spectrum to do HDTV and they should stick with that plan. Congress has been discussing the transition to digital television and how best to get back the analog spectrum. - Paige Albiniak

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