Tribune Company today released the following statement regarding a District Court ruling on newspaper/television cross-ownership in the Hartford, Connecticut market:
“Today, a District Court in Hartford, Connecticut ruled that Tribune’s holdings in the Hartford, Connecticut market (The Hartford Courant, WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV) were in violation of the FCC’s newspaper/television cross-ownership rule.
This order was not a ruling on the merits of the cross-ownership rule and we believe the decision is wrong and seriously flawed.
- The judge reached his decision by applying FCC rules that are currently on remand from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to the FCC and subject to a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
- In June 2003, the FCC completed a two-year omnibus rule-making and established new cross-ownership rules that permitted newspaper/television combinations in large markets. In June 2004, the 3rd Circuit agreed with the FCC with respect to relief in large markets such as Hartford.
In the Hartford case, the Chief of the Mass Media Bureau of the FCC filed a letter confirming the commission’s view that Tribune was not in violation of its rules in Hartford pending resolution of the FCC’s multiple ownership proceedings.
We will seek a stay of this ruling pending appeal and we expect that the FCC or the Supreme Court will clarify the cross-ownership rule during the appeal process. During the appeal process we will continue serving readers and viewers in the greater Hartford community by operating The Courant, WTIC-TV, and WTXX-TV as a source of news, information and entertainment programming.
The ruling has no effect on the operations of Tribune’s newspapers or television stations in any other market. Nothing in the District Court’s decision changes our view on the likelihood of cross-ownership relief. We continue to believe the rule will be relaxed and all Tribune markets will be in compliance without required divestitures.”