Tribune Co. may break down the figurative walls separating the South
Sun-Sentinel and WBZL(TV) Miami, after the
Federal Communications Commission acknowledged prohibiting joint operations
between them may have diminished, rather than boosted, the number of independent
media voices in the Miami market.
Denied the opportunity for joint ad promotions and news production with its
co-owned newspaper, 7th rated WBZL turned to NBC O&O WTVJ(TV) to
produce its newscast.
Tribune says an independent news operation was 'impractical' for WBZL because
of its low rating in the market.
NBC's WTVJ, however, also had news production agreements with Paxson's
WPXM(TV) and Telemundo's WSCV(TV) as well as its own newscast, creating the
'absurd result,' that WTVJ was producing news for four Miami area stations.
By tapping resources of the Sun-Sentinel, Tribune says WBZL could
produce its own 30-minute newscast rather than 'recycling' productions of other
FCC rules prohibit cross-ownership of TV stations and newspapers in the same
markets, although temporary waivers of some relationships have been granted
along with permanent grandfathering of older partnerships.
The FCC currently is reviewing whether to retain the
rule, but Tribune remains under orders to sell one of the South Florida
properties if the prohibition is continued.