Kevin Martin has proposed exempting the LAT parent from rules prohibiting ownership of newspaper and TV stations in the same market (KTLA is a Tribune property). It's a big deal because without the waiver being granted before the end of the year Tribune's $8.2 billion deal to go private would be in jeopardy (all kinds of tax penalties). Besides L.A., Tribune needs waivers for Chicago, New York, South Florida and Hartford, Conn. The waivers allow the Federal Communications Commission more time to consider a grander scheme to eliminate these cross-ownership bans in the top 20 markets. Martin wants that vote by Dec. 18 - too late, Tribune's lawyers argue, for their deal to be completed this year. Besides, there will be all kinds of court challenges certain to drag into next year, probably longer. Here's the LAT story.
While we're on the subject of our Tribune boys, it's worth noting that the LAT, Chicago Tribune and South Florida Sun-Sentinel were largely to blame for a 27 percent drop in Tribune's October classified advertising revenues. Overall ad revenue fell 10.6 percent. The company doesn't break out numbers for individual markets, and Times Publisher David Hiller has been keeping his mouth shut as of late. Secrecy now rules in the kingdom of Zell.