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AFTER 18 MONTH FCC INVESTIGATION, MURDOCH WINS BIG VICTORY
Published May 5, 1995
News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch "won a big victory" yesterday when the FCC admitted that his company was in violation of foreign ownership laws, but "gave it a clear road map to getting an exception to the rule." The 18-month investigation had examined whether Murdoch's Australian-based News Corp. was in violation of the FCC's foreign ownership regulations, and whether the company misled regulators about its ownership when seeking FCC approval of the purchase of the original Fox stations in '85. Yesterday, the FCC gave News Corp. a chance to "argue that a waiver would be in the public interest," and three of five commissioners made it clear they believe the Fox Network "had already benefited the public by bringing new competition to NBC, ABC, and CBS." Media Access Project Exec Dir Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a frequent Fox critic, called the ruling "a complete victory" for Murdoch (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 5/5). In Washington, Paul Farhi writes that the FCC "made it official yesterday: The FCC blew it." Farhi notes the FCC's '85 approval of Murdoch's purchase of the six original Fox stations, "apparently without knowing -- or without being concerned" -- that Murdoch's News Corp. was providing all of the capital (WASHINGTON POST, 5/5). BIG PICTURE: The decision, and other FCC rulings, signals that foreign ownership rules "are already less of a barrier than they have been in the past -- and will likely be relaxed further," according to Jube Shiver of the L.A. TIMES. That could "broaden the pool of prospective buyers" for other U.S. properties -- notably CBS (L.A. TIMES, 5/5).