Viacom Inc. asked the Federal Communications Commission Monday to stay the company's obligation to sell enough
TV stations to get below the government's 35 percent cap on national TV-household
The request follows a decision last week by federal judges ordering the FCC
to better justify what is an effective limit on the number of TV stations a
broadcaster can own, or to throw the rule out.
Because the judges allowed the 35 percent cap to stay in place pending the
commission remand, without a stay, Viacom would be obligated to divest enough
stations to get below its current 41 percent household reach.
The divestiture was a condition of the FCC's approval of Viacom's purchase of
CBS in 2000.
The company seeks to hold on to stations 12 months after the FCC's remand
Viacom noted that Fox Television -- which also has an audience reach of roughly
41 percent -- was allowed to avoid divestitures for 12 months after resolution of the
court case against the ownership cap.
The case was brought by Viacom, Fox and NBC.