Senate Seals 39% Ownership Cap With Vote
On Thursday, January 22, 2004, the Senate passed an appropriations bill that included legislation to set the national television ownership cap at 39%. President Bush was expected to sign the bill into law later the same day.
The passage of the bill takes the power to set the national ownership cap away from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC voted in June 2003 to increase the cap from 35% to 45%, inciting national debate among broadcast owners and special interest groups. The increase had been tied up in legal battles.
Many local broadcasters, including Capitol Broadcasting Company, have argued that an increase from 35% would put too much power in the hands of national networks and large corporations.