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In a move that could "saddle" News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch with a huge tax liability and "stifle foreign investment in U.S. broadcasting," FCC staff members have recommended that regulators consider a restructuring of Fox's ownership to comply with federal foreign-ownership laws, according to FCC sources cited by the L.A. TIMES. By reducing News Corp.'s ownership of Fox from 99% to 25%, Murdoch would be allowed to keep his Fox- owned TV stations. But the reconfiguration would also have "significant tax consequences," according to a lawyer knowledgeable about Murdoch's finances. One Fox official, after being told about the possible FCC recommendation: "This is pure speculation ... but if it were true, it's outrageous. We would be surprised if the commission would follow such a recommendation, but if they did, we would fight it at every level." The FCC is aiming to resolve the matter today. "But several commissioner indicated they wanted more time to review the matter" (Jube Shiver, L.A. TIMES, 4/21). TURNER: Ted Turner has strengthened his control over TBS. In two separate transactions last month, Turner increased his voting control to about 66.7% from 65.2%. Turner did so by acquiring over 2.2 million supervoting class A shares, including 458,865 shares from Braves Chair William Bartholomay (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/21). ABC: Cap Cities/ABC said 1stQ net income rose 36% from a year ago, as "strong advertiser demand boosted the results" of the ABC network and the Cap Cities stations. The company attributed improved revenue to the telecast of Super Bowl XXIX (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21).
The Arena Football League begins its ninth season when training camps open tomorrow. While the league already has a TV deal with ESPN, the AFL is talking to CBS about televising Arena Bowl IX (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/21).... For the regular season, the UConn women's basketball team generated an 8.2 and a 21 share during their telecasts on CPTV, the state's public TV station. Because of those numbers, all four network affiliates in Hartford are interested in purchasing the rights to UConn women's hoops. A deal is expected by the end of June (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/21). ....MSG Network will give hockey fans two versions of the Caps-Rangers game Monday. The live coverage will give be "normal," but an 11:30pm replay will feature low-angle cameras giving viewers a chance to watch the entire game from ice level (WASHINGTON POST, 4/21)....The CISL Washington Warthogs will have their games broadcast on Radio Zone, a three-station radio network geared to families and children. The Warthogs will buy time on Radio Zone and sell ads themselves (WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/27).