The arduous task of rewriting the nation's media ownership rules has been put on hold, again. A proceeding that would restart the process was pulled from the FCC’s Open Meeting agenda at the last mi

The arduous task of rewriting the nation's media ownership rules has been put on hold, again. A proceeding that would restart the process was pulled from the FCC’s Open Meeting agenda at the last minute Thursday morning (July 14), due to disagreements over three key issues.

An FCC official, speaking on background, told Billboard.biz the reason for the last-minute change was the commissioners’ collective inability to agree on the number of field hearings the FCC will hold, the length of the comment periods the commission will devote to taking in new information on the issues at hand, and the number of independent studies the FCC might commission.

Under then chairman Michael Powell, the commission issued a thicket of sweeping ownership rule changes in June 2003. But a federal appeals court in 2004 tossed some of them back to commission, including rules affecting cross-ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers, and TV duopolies and triopolies. This year's Supreme Court decision to not intervene or render a decision on an appeal made by broadcasters effectively sent the issue back to the FCC.

The Commission’s new stab at rewriting the ownership rules will likely appear on the August Open Meeting agenda, in the form of a very broad and open Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.