Industry journal TV Week reports that Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the FCC, has put a “hold” on the Senate’s approporiations bill that denies funding to the FCC for raising the national TV ownership cap from 35% to 45%. He says the FCC is his department, dammit, and so the Commerce Committee should’ve been the one for the bill to pass through.
Apparently, wacky old Johnny wants to push forward a bill that was approved by his own committee a few months back that restores the TV-newspaper cross-ownership ban and also would force some of the biggest radio giants to divest themselves of some stations, including restoring the 35% national TV limit.
McCain’s fervor for this bill seems a bit strange to me, however, because back in June he said that he actually didn’t like the bill and didn’t think it would stand up to judicial scrutiny.
Oh, it’s all just political fun and games, and you can watch the action yourself on-line on Thursday when the Commerce Committe holds a hearing on media ownership, with special guest stars like, Mr. Mark Cooper, President of the Consumer Federation of America and Eli M. Noam, the Director of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and Professor of Finance and Economics. Nothing’s yet on the schedule, but if we’re lucky maybe it’ll be broadcast on C-SPAN, too.