Reading fight last for FCC

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Reading Broadcasting Inc.'s fight to keep WTVE(TV) Reading, Pa., provided a fitting epitaph to the demise of the Federal Communications Commission's comparative hearing process, which allowed challengers to compete for new
broadcast licenses and those up for renewal.

The expensive and lengthy hearings were abolished in 1996. Ongoing
proceedings continued, and Reading's case is the last.

In June, the company won a seven-year fight to defend its license from Adams
Communications Corp., but the long battle is now moving from the FCC to court.

Reading wants judges to rule that Adams abused the comparative process in
order to extract a financial settlement, and that it had no intention of running the TV
station.

If the judges agree, Reading likely will sue Adams for the cost of defending
the license.

Reading attorney Thomas Hutton said the drawn-out case fits the pattern for
comparative hearings: "This is why they changed the law."

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