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Villaraigosa’s Pride in the Peacock

Updated

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has endorsed the Comcast and NBC Universal joint venture, noting the “positive impact there will be on minority programming, employment and purchasing practices, as well as local programming and local content opportunities.”

Villaraigosa’s letter to the FCC, dated on Friday, goes on to praise the recent diversity commitments made by Comcast and NBC, and predicts that the union of the two companies will boost economic activity in Los Angeles.

He also says, “Based on the experience of General Electric ownership, it is vitally important that the next owner be an entity that understands and helps promote the entertainment industry and is attentive to the communities it serves. Comcast will fulfill that role and will be a good steward of the public airways.” You can read that as a jab at GE or a statement in praise of it.

Update: With the deadline for comments due to the FCC today, Comcast’s general counsel David L. Cohen wrote a blog post that they will “comprehensively address all other concerns” not already outlined in their previous commitments. But he also suggested that competitors have been using the proposed transaction “as an opportunity to seek advantages and concessions outside of marketplace negotiations. We believe these efforts should be rejected. For example, there are FCC rules in effect that already ensure that competing programmers’ and distributors’ interests are protected, and we’ve even pledged to extend the program access rules to our retransmission consent negotiations for the NBCU broadcast stations. Several commenters expressed concerns about how the program access rules work. If those rules need to be fixed, the appropriate place to fix them is in general FCC proceedings that apply to all companies, not by putting discriminatory restrictions on the new Comcast/NBCU.”

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