Powell rejects Dems’ request for vote delay

Decision would allow congloms to buy more properties

WASHINGTON — Determined to usher in a new era, FCC topper Michael Powell rejected his Democratic colleagues’ request to postpone a vote on rules governing media ownership for one month.

As times runs out before the skedded June 2 vote, it is becoming increasingly evident that Powell’s changes will be adopted and the Federal Communications Commission will make it easier for media giants to snap up more newspapers, radio and TV stations.

A longstanding tradition at the FCC allows commissioners the right to request a one-month delay on any vote. While Powell acknowledged the custom, he argued it did not apply in this case because the three GOP commissioners, a majority of the total five, strongly opposed putting off the vote.

Powell did, however, extend the so-called sunshine period, the time when the public can weigh in on the matter and submit their arguments to the FCC, one week to May 30.

Late Thursday, Powell met with Democratic commish Jonathan Adelstein, who requested the delay, to inform him of the decision in person. He did not extend the same courtesy to Democrat Michael Copps, with whom Powell has tangled publicly.

Hollywood added its own prominent voice to the cacophony Thursday. John Wells wrote McCain to lobby for a new access rule that would require the networks to obtain a “significant percentage” of their programming from companies that are not affiliated with them and that they do not own and control — what critics argue is a return to a form of the fin-syn rules of old.

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