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Main entrance to the Tribune Tower, the headquarters of the Tribune Company in Chicago, Ill. - 


Scott Jagow: The Federal Communications Commission has a rule that one company can't own a TV station and a newspaper in the same market.
But today, the FCC might make an exception -- for a billionaire named Sam Zell. Jill Barshay explains.

Jill Barshay: The Tribune Company owns newspapers and TV stations in Los Angeles and Chicago. Tribune has an exemption from the FCC rule, but it expires when the company changes hands.

Sam Zell bought Tribune earlier this year. He needs a new waiver to operate the company.

Bob Williams: This is huge. Who owns the media is a very big deal in democracies.

That's Bob Williams of the Consumers Union. He says the FCC has already tried and failed to get rid of all kinds of media ownership restrictions.

After the Commission hands Zell his waiver, it'll take one more shot at nixing the newspaper-TV ban. Maybe as early as Dec. 18.

Williams doesn't like that idea:

Williams: People get their news, their local news, from the local paper and they get it from the local TV stations. If those are all owned by one company in a market, they dominate the debate.

The chairman of the FCC says thanks to the Internet, there are lots of competitive news sources out there.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.