The FCC loosened a 32-year-old ban on simultaneous ownership of a newspaper and a radio or TV station in the same city today, the Washington Post reports. The commission voted 3-2 along party lines after a dispute-filled meeting. Afterward, one of the Democratic commissioners said, "Powerful companies are using political muscle to sneak through rule changes that let them profit at the expense of the public interest."
Chairman Kevin Martin had pushed the rule change, which allows a newspaper in a top-20 media market to merge with a broadcast station as long as the station is not one of the city’s four most popular. In a contrasting decision, a measure banning cable companies from servicing more than 30% of the US market drew fire from a Republican commissioner, who called it "archaic."