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Wright set to argue for easing regs

NBC president Robert Wright has scheduled meetings with all three FCC commissioners today, when it’s expected he’ll pitch for a relaxation of broadcast ownership rules.

The trip marks Wright’sfirst face-to-face meeting with new Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt.

Wright’s timing is right: Hundt on Monday got an update from FCC general counsel Bill Kennard and mass media bureau chief Roy Stewart on the status of FCC plans to ease station ownership regs. (No changes are imminent, although proposals likely will be floated in coming months.)

NBC has taken a lead in encouraging Congress and the FCC to ease rules that prevent broadcasters from becoming multichannel program providers. Efforts by the Peacock web and other broadcasters have already borne fruit on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have added lingo to information superhighway legislation granting “spectrum flexibility” to broadcasters to provide data transmission and other services.

Wright likely will urge the agency to relax rules barring a broadcaster from owning more than 12 stations or reaching more than 25% of the U.S. audience.

He’s also expected to seek elimination of the dual network rule that prevents a web from airing more than one feed in a given market, along with the one-to-a-market rule, which bars broadcasters from owning more than one TV station in a single locale. Wright may also make a plug for a speedier elimination of the fin-syn rules, which are set for expiration next year.

Following the session with Wright, Hundt will have met with three of the four network heads. He has yet to meet with CBS topper Laurence Tisch.

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