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Groups Fight WMBB License Renewal

Jan 4, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the watchdog Free Press have asked the Federal Communications Commission to reject Media General’s license renewal application for WMBB-TV in Panama City, Fla., alleging that the company’s ownership of the Jackson County Floridan newspaper in the same market puts Media General in violation of agency cross-ownership prohibitions.

In a filing Monday at the FCC, the groups said Media General acquired the daily newspaper in September 2000, after the company bought the TV station, in hopes that the FCC would relax a rule that currently prohibits broadcasters from acquiring daily newspapers in the same market. Though the FCC’s Republican majority subsequently tried to ease the restriction, the agency’s deregulation has been put on indefinite hold by a federal appeals court stay. Media General, which is seeking a waiver of the cross-ownership prohibition, declined comment.