The Federal Communications Commission will this May commence a review of the regulations controlling broadcast television ownership.

New FCC chairman Michael Powell, scion of Colin Powell, secretary of state and co-Bush appointee, broke the news in his first appearance before a congressional panel. He told the House Telecommunications Subcommittee that the review would examine the rules preventing any one company from owning TV stations with an aggregated audience of over 35% of the total population.

The review will also cover limitations on cross media ownership that bar media owners from controlling broadcast stations and newspapers in the same regional market.

These curbs have come under increasing attack of late. Major media owners see them as a barrier to expansion and have lobbied remorselessly for repeal of the rules. The lobbyists were recently heartened by an appellate-court decision overturning federal rules that barred broadcasters from serving more than 30% of the US pay-TV market.

News source: Wall Street Journal