Ill. b'casters urge more duopoly relief


The Illinois Broadcasters Association Tuesday urged the Federal
Communications Commission to ease duopoly restriction sufficiently to allow
pairing of two TV stations in small and midsized markets.

"Television stations
located in the small to midsized markets are more at risk financially than
those in the larger markets," IBA president Dennis Lyle wrote in an April 29
letter to FCC chairman Michael Powell.

Merging much of their operations will allow stations to boost their bottom lines
to healthy levels, broadcasters said.

The FCC is reviewing current duopoly restrictions as part of its sweeping
overview of broadcast-ownership rules.

Duopolies are currently permitted only in markets where eight separately
owned stations would remain.

Also, pairs between a market's four top-rated stations are prohibited.

Although nearly all broadcasters want duopoly relaxation, there is not
unanimity on how far to go.

Granite Broadcasting Corp. has pushed to eliminate all duopuoly restrictions.

The National Association of Broadcasters is pushing its "10/10" plan, which
would allow pairings between stations with viewing shares of 10 or more with
ones capturing less than 10.

Granite said that idea doesn't go far enough.

In an interview, Lyle said the IBA was not urging the FCC to pick one over the