It was all the way back in December 2007 when former Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin managed to use his 3-2 party line FCC advantage to mandate a partial large-market-only relaxation of the media cross-ownership rules, only to have the action stalled interminably in the courts. Martin thinks proponents of cross-ownership could win in the Supreme Court.
Martin’s relaxed rules would have applied to broadcast/pring combinations in the top 20 Nielsen DMAs, and also would have made permanent a number of existing cross-owned combinations that were operating under waivers.
According to the Triangle Business Journal, Martin still believes his rule change is completely justified due to changes in media and journalism brought about by the plethora of new media since the cross-ownership rules were put in place.
“I will not be surprised if media companies continue to battle this ban,” he said, according the TBJ. “The question is, will the case be reheard.”
Martin is currently working for Patton Boggs, a DC law firm. He followed Michael Powell as FCC Chairman, and preceded Julius Genachowski, with an interim stint in the chair performed by Michael Copps.
RBR-TVBR observation: With both broadcast and newspaper hurting, and given that the jury is out on whether combining two such properties is a wise financial move, it’s not easy to see anybody making the investment to pursue this issue all the way to the Supreme Court. So unlike Martin, we would be a little surprised. But only a little.