Localism study puts NASA ruling in question

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The fate of affiliates' demand for a Federal Communications Commission
crackdown on network contract-negotiation tactics was cast in doubt Wednesday
morning when chairman Michael Powell indicated that rules governing
network/affiliate relations would be examined in an upcoming inquiry on
improving localism in TV and radio.

Afterward, an FCC staffer said it is unclear how the new inquiry will affect
an ongoing petition by the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance -- there's been
no decision on whether it should be acted upon now or incorporated into the new
proceeding.

Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. president and NASA chairman Alan Frank said the
prospect of further delay would be "distressing."

NASA officials called on the FCC to rule now rather than folding it into an
inquiry that won't be completed for up to two years.

"Our petition already has been in his office for
two-and-a-half years," Frank said. "Our position is that network behavior is
inconsistent with the existing rules and the FCC should enforce the existing
rules."

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