FCC staff has recommended that Fox Inc. chairman Rupert Murdoch be granted a waiver of agency rules to permit him to buy the New York Post, and a final decision by the three-member agency is expected as early as next week.
FCC sources said the agency’s Mass Media Bureau and Office of General Counsel are recommending approval for the deal.
Murdoch, who holds a controlling interest in Fox Television’s WNYW-TV, needs the FCC waiver because rules designed to promote media diversity bar common ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market.
Murdoch’s bid to regain the Post has faced intense opposition from a number of groups, including New York’s NAACP branches, the Caucus for Media Diversity, an organization that includes the New York chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Connecticut-based Champion Holding Co., an outfit that is also seeking permission to buy the Post.
On March 29, a federal bankruptcy judge signed papers giving Murdoch temporary operating control of the Post. The management agreement expires Wednesday, and Murdoch’s lawyers are pressing the FCC to act on the request for the permanent waiver by that date.
Murdoch’s lawyers claim he has been losing more than $ 300,000 a week while seeking the FCC approval.