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FCC Puts Cross-Ownership Study Up for Comment

Study key to agency's rules proceeding

Acting Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Mignon Clyburn may be keeping the seat warm for nominee Tom Wheeler, but she isn't sitting on her hands. Over the weekend, Clyburn put a study on the impact of cross-media ownership on minorities and women up for comment.

The highly anticipated study has been one of the things holding up a proposal to loosen media ownership rules, a proceeding that has been plagued and delayed two years by court cases and controversy.

Comments are due July 22, with reply comments due Aug. 6.

Clyburn, who was named the agency's first chairwoman last month, was the reason the study was conducted in the first place, which delayed the commission's action on former FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's draft proposal on the rules circulated last fall. 

One of the main points of controversy in Genachowski's draft was lifting the ban on owning a newspaper and radio station in the same market.

The study going out for comment was commissioned by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, which submitted the study at the end of last month.

Like the media ownership rules, the study itself has been criticized both for the fact that it was conducted by BIAKelsey, a broadcast research firm, and for responses from an inconclusive sample of 14 broadcast owners. Based on those interviews, the study concluded that cross-ownership of media had no material impact on minorities or women. 

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