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Powell optimistic on June 2 ownership vote - Broadcasting & Cable

Powell optimistic on June 2 ownership vote

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Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell told reporters
Thursday that he "feels good" about chances for securing the majority necessary to
bring wide-ranging changes to broadcast-ownership rules to a vote by his June 2
deadline.

Discussions with three of four fellow commissioners are ongoing, including
Democrat Jonathan Adelstein.

The only one not fully participating in the talks is Michael Copps, the other
Democrat.

Copps -- with backing from some top Ssenators and a chorus of artists, academics
and activists -- is calling for the vote to be delayed.

Powell said he would only grant a Copps request to delay the vote if there
are substantive reasons, not a "delay for its own sake."

Powell acknowledged that there will be specific limits on the number of TV and
radio stations that can be owned locally by one company, and the limits will be
based on the size of the market.

Although federal judges found current broadcast limits poorly reasoned, the
new limits will be sufficiently justified to survive court scrutiny.

After the broadcast proceeding is completed, Powell said, his top media
priorities will be designing new cable-ownership limits, resolving affiliates'
complaints about broadcast-network practices, setting rules for cable carriage
of digital-broadcast channels and establishing a broadcast-digital-TV copy-protection
regime.

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