Schwartzman sees extended media-rule rewrite

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Like Julius Caesar, Michael Powell may have to create a new calendar.

At least that's what a growing number of insiders said he will need to do to
meet his late-spring deadline for revising media-ownership rules.

"It's going to be very hard for the FCC [Federal Communications Commission]
to get it done," Media Access Project president Andrew Schwartzman said Tuesday.
In remarks at The Precursor Group's annual Washington, D.C., conference,
Schwartzman predicted that the rewrite will last through summer, if not
fall.

FCC chairman Powell himself admitted to C-SPAN two weeks ago that nothing is
expected until "very late spring." That concession prompted one Washington
source to quip that nothing will be done until "very, very, very late
spring."

Why the delay? Some big media critics claimed credit for forcing additional
public hearings on the issue and generating citizen anxiety about the impact of
rule changes. But the FCC is also swamped with major revisions to telephone
rules.

Powell media aide Susan Eid wouldn't back off the late-spring target, and she
threatened to "kill myself" if the review drags on until
summer.

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