Ralph Baruch: Can FCC Justify Murdoch’s WSJ?

Ralph Baruch, a founder and former chairman of Viacom, had a lot to say about the media on Leonard Lopate’s show this afternoon. Baruch has been in his share of skirmishes with the FCC, including the one which saw him heading the FCC-mandated Viacom. “CBS did everything they could to get rid of (it),” said Baruch.

But it was Rupert Murdoch‘s purchase of the Wall Street Journal and the possibility of more cross-ownership waivers that raised Baruch’s ire. “How can the FCC justify how (Murdoch) can own a paper that is national and competes against television stations in many markets,” he wondered. Michael Copps, a Democrat commissioner on the FCC panel, said yesterday that he hopes “nobody views this as a slam-dunk”.

Baruch also talked about how former Time Warner chairman Steve Ross’ misfortune was Viacom’s gain. The collapse of Atari — remember them? — led Viacom to buy “MTV, Nicolodeon, The Movie Channel and half of Showtime for less than $600 million … Of course, today (they are) worth tens of billions.”

Baruch also praised Ted Turner‘s vision, but found him to be “a little crazy.” And on the digitization of the media: “Eventually I think television will come over the Internet entirely.”

— Ron Mwangaguhunga


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