Judiciary Heavies Up on Hearings


When the NBC-Vivendi Universal deal was struck last week, Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) -- chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- sent out a joint statement expressing their concern about its effect on the "diversity of viewpoints available to all Americans. "

They said they "expect to hold a hearing shortly." Within 10 minutes, a new, "updated" version of the statement had been sent, with the language changed to "considering holding a hearing shortly."

Cold feet? No, DeWine's office said: full calendar. "It was a matter of not promising a hearing until we're sure there's actually going to be enough time to schedule one," a staffer said.

The committee already has three media-concentration hearings set for later this month --one on Clear Channel Communications Inc. and radio, another on the impact of sports programming on cable prices and another examining the NCAA's college-football Bowl Championship Series.