Senate Fails to Pass Ownership Cap Compromise

Senate Fails to Pass Ownership Cap Compromise

The Filing:
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A bill that would set the national TV ownership cap at 39% failed to make it out of the Senate on Tuesday, January 20, 2004. In late 2003, the House voted to set the ownership cap at 39%, a compromise between the 45% cap set by the Federal Communications Commission June 2003 rulemaking change and the original 35% cap.

Capitol Broadcasting Company President & CEO Jim Goodmon supports remaining at the 35% cap, saying that a higher cap will put small broadcasters out of business as large networks gobble up stations. Goodmon says that diversity in broadcast ownership would be all but eradicated if the cap is lifted.

Sixty Senators were needed to vote for the ruling, but only 48 votes could be gathered in support, with 45 Senators voting against the change. However, a vote could occur if Senate GOP members in favor of the measure can filibuster long enough to secure the 60 necessary votes to bring the legislation to the Senate floor.

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