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FCC seeks more input on Tribune's media holdings

March 12, 2007|Jim Puzzanghera | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Because of problems with its electronic filing system, the Federal Communications Commission is giving people another chance to weigh in on Tribune Co.'s request to continue operating KTLA Channel 5 while owning the Los Angeles Times.

The FCC said it was allowing a new 30-day comment period, which began Tuesday, because "malfunctions" last summer may have caused some people to miss its original Nov. 1 deadline.

The new public comment period could delay the FCC's consideration of the request as Tribune remains for sale and its ownership of newspapers and TV stations in several cities poses a regulatory hurdle for potential buyers.

FCC rules to limit media consolidation prohibit a company from owning a TV station and newspaper in the same market. Tribune has argued that the rules are outmoded because consumers now have scores of news outlets to choose from.

The FCC considers the rule only when a TV station license is renewed or transferred. With KTLA's license expiring for the first time since Tribune bought The Times in 2000, the company has asked the FCC for a waiver.

Many public interest and activist groups have complained that Tribune's cross-ownership gave it too much media power in Los Angeles. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) among others had filed objections to Tribune's waiver request by Nov. 1.

KTLA's license expired Dec. 1; Tribune had to file its renewal application by Aug. 1. Problems with the FCC's system led it to extend that deadline until Aug. 11. But the Nov. 1 deadline for public comment wasn't extended.

Several objections arrived at the FCC later that month, the agency said, so it has opened a new filing period to assure "a full and complete record."


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