Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Teamster Boss Hoffa Urges FCC to Keep Cross-Ownership Ban

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Teamster Boss Hoffa Urges FCC to Keep Cross-Ownership Ban

Article excerpt

In testimony prepared for Thursday evening's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public hearing, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa argues the going-private deal for Tribune Co. is a perfect example of why media ownership regulations should not be loosened.

The Teamsters oppose the Tribune buyout led by Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell, saying the structure of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) being used to swing the deal gives workers no real voice in the management of the company. The deal, which was approved last month in a stockholders vote, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Tribune owns 16 dailies and 23 television stations, some in the same markets. Tribune is exempted from the 1975 ban on common same-market ownership of newspaper and broadcast in some cities because it was "grandfathered" when the law took effect. In other cities, especially with the media properties it acquired in 2000 purchase of Times Mirror Co., it is operating the stations under waivers from the FCC.

"The proposed Tribune buyout is an example of why the FCC must concern itself with the ownership structure of media companies -- particularly when waivers of cross-broadcast ownership rules have been sought -- in order to fulfill its mission to protect localism, viewpoint diversity, media access and other issues of vital importance," Hoffa's written testimony stated. …

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