Aides to the FCC commissioners in the past couple of weeks said a recommendation on the Fox/Chris-Craft merger would be coming from the Mass Media Bureau any day. But opponents of the deal may have put on the brakes. The bureau is said to be drafting a new list of questions for Fox and parent News Corp. regarding its request for the regulatory leniency needed to win approval for the $5.4 billion acquisition of Chris-Craft's 10 TV stations.
Tops among the complaints, which echo reservations of public advocacy lawyers, is that Fox hasn't shown why it should be allowed the unprecedented step of adding WWOR-TV to its New York City stable when the company already has a waiver to own the New York Post and another station despite the ban on in-market TV/newspaper crossownership. Fox also has been too sketchy, they said, about how the plan to put the stations' assets into a subsidiary of Australia-based News Corp. complies with foreign-ownership prohibitions.