Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Shuffling the Deck, in a Small Way

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Shuffling the Deck, in a Small Way

Article excerpt

While it's true that media giants will write most of the headlines in the deal-making that will follow deregulation, many smaller players also see the chance to own print and broadcast in the same market as helping secure their futures.

Newspapers are the logical buyers of broadcast in small-town America, says Ray Carlsen, executive director of the Inland Press Association, whose 800- plus member newspapers are mostly in the small- to medium-circulation range. "In these kinds of markets, the newspaper is typically the stronger media entity," he points out. Indeed, in almost every market, newspapers have more reporters and salespeople out on the street than all their broadcast competitors combined.

Among the small media chains that have been handcuffed by the cross- ownership ban is Scranton, Pa.-based newspaper and radio owner Times- Shamrock Communications. The company has been prohibited from pursuing radio stations that overlap with some of its Pennsylvania newspaper markets, but that could soon change. "Will we do anything?" says co-owner William R. Lynett, whose company has lobbied hard to lift the ban. "Who knows? But we've never had the chance to explore those paths."

Dan Simons, director of new ventures for the Lawrence, Kan.-based World Co., argues that repealing the ban may be crucial to the survival of family-owned companies, such as his own, that operate in the shadow of giants like Knight Ridder. The World Co. enjoys the benefits of cross ownership at its Lawrence Journal-World and cable TV station, but has been barred from expanding further into broadcast in Lawrence and in northwestern Colorado, where it owns two small dailies. …

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