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August 07, 2004

According to Radio & Records magazine, the Philadelphia appeals court that is weighing the future of the FCC's media-ownership rules today granted an FCC request to allow the commission to enact its controversial new Arbitron-based radio-market-definition rules and abandon the service-contour-based method it has used for decades. The court also OK'd the commission's request to include noncommercial stations when it calculates how many stations serve a market and approved a rule that includes stations operating under joint sales agreements in a group owner's station count in a market. Meanwhile, the court denied Tribune's request that the stay on the commission's cross-media rules be lifted; the rules were stayed pending the FCC's review of its numerical ownership limits. While the court on June 24 upheld many of the FCC's June 2003 media-ownership rules, it remanded the numerical station-ownership limits for further review. A rule that stipulates companies that own clusters which violate the new limits may only sell those clusters intact to minority-controlled buyers - or else break up the cluster - can also now take effect.

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