Table: Choking Off Competition

The lifting of ownership caps has led to more media consolidation and fewer viewer sources for news

VIACOM/CBS

A few weeks after the FCC, in August, 1999, lifted its ban on a single company owning two TV stations in a local market, Viacom announced it was buying CBS. The merger was completed in May, 2000.

NEWS CORP.'S FOX/CHRIS-CRAFT

On July 25, the FCC waived its 35% cap on national broadcast ownership. That allowed Fox Television Stations, only days later, to close its deal to acquire the 10 TV stations held by Chris-Craft Industries.

AOL TIME WARNER AND AT&T BROADBAND

In September, No. 2 cable operator AOL Time Warner expressed interest in merging with No. 1 cable operator AT&T Broadband. Combined, the entity would control 39% of the nation's cable systems. That exceeds the 30% national cable ownership limit, but the FCC has hinted that it wants to raise that cap.

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