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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

February 5, 1999


The Federal Communications Commission will hold an en banc hearing on February 12, 1999, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., on its pending review of its local television ownership rules, MM Docket Nos. 87-8 and 91-221. The hearing will take place at the Commission's new headquarters building, located at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, in the Meeting Room on the 12th Street Level, Room TW-C3-5.

The purpose of this en banc hearing is to educate and inform the Commissioners, FCC staff, and the public about differing perspectives on whether the Commission's local TV ownership rules should be modified in response to ongoing changes in the mass media industry. The Commission's pending proceeding on this issue is part of a larger examination of these and other broadcast media ownership rules first initiated by the Commission in 1991, and more recently guided by the statutory directives of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

In its pending proceeding, the Commission has proposed modifying the "TV duopoly" rule, which prohibits the common ownership of more than one TV station in a local market, and the radio-television cross-ownership rule, which prohibits the common ownership of radio and TV stations in a local market. It has also sought comment on the appropriate grandfathering policy for TV local marketing agreements ("LMAs") that may become attributable under the Commission's proposed revisions of its attribution rules for broadcast ownership interests. Although there are other ownership issues currently pending before the Commission, this hearing will focus solely on the "TV duopoly" and radio-television cross-ownership rules and the related LMA grandfathering policy.

The Commission expects the hearing to consist of presentations by two panels, together with questions from Commissioners and answers from the panels.

The first panel will consist of economists, legal scholars, political scientists, and Wall Street observers. This panel has been asked to provide a general perspective on the relevant trends in the mass media industry, the purposes for a free over-the-air broadcasting system, the future consequences of economic changes, and the role of the FCC in regulating broadcast ownership.

The second panel will consist of parties that have been more actively involved in the pending proceeding on local TV ownership rules, and this panel will be asked to focus more specifically on the proposed rule modifications.

Invited panelists at the FCC En Banc Hearing February 12 include:

Dean Alger, a political scientist and author on mass media issues;

William Baker, President and CEO of WNET-TV in New York, NY;

Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School;

Alan W. Frank, Vice President and General Manager of Post-Newsweek station WDIV-TV in Detroit, MI;

Lawrence K. Grossman, Senior Fellow at Columbia University;

Jeff Marcus, President and CEO of Chancellor Media Corp.;

Michael J. McCarthy, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of A.H. Belo Corp.;

Kent Mikkelsen, Vice President of Economists Inc.;

Victor Miller IV of Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc.;

Andrew Schwartzman, President and CEO of Media Access Project;

Greg Sidak, F.K. Weyerhauser Fellow in Law and Economics at the American Enterprise Institute;

Stevie Wonder and Karen Slade of KJLH-FM in Compton, California; and

Royce Yudkoff, Managing Partner of Abry Partners, Inc.

All interested persons are invited to attend the en banc hearing.

- FCC -

Media Contact: David Fiske (202) 418-0513
Mass Media Contact: Charles Logan (202) 418-2120