WASHINGTON — Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is keeping the fire hot under the Federal Communications Commission when it comes to broadcast ownership reform.
The FCC has refused to speed up a planned review of its ban on owning a newspaper and TV station in the same market. Miffed, McCain asked the agency Monday why it was willing to give Disney a break on the ban when it purchased ABC, but is refusing to extend the same courtesy to the Tribune Broadcasting Co., which currently owns a TV station and a newspaper in the Miami market.
Unless Tribune gets an extension or a waiver from the FCC, it will have to sell either WDZL Miami or the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel newspaper. (Disney later sold the newspapers it acquired with ABC).
In addition, McCain gave the FCC a lot of homework to do before it makes the next reply in the ongoing exchange of letters between the Commerce chairman and the agency.
In his Monday letter, McCain asked for a list of all the rules it will review in 1998, including the dates the rules were adopted, the dates they were last reviewed and target date for completing the next review.