Illinois lawmakers support Zell

Media activists suffered a huge blow recently as it has been learned that most Illinois politicians won’t be on their side in the battle to divest Tribune’s properties in Chicago.

A letter signed by 14 Illinois lawmakers – on both sides of the political aisle – urged the FCC to waive restrictions on new Trib owner Sam Zell, who needs the agency’s approval to transfer broadcast licenses in order to take the company private.

Currently, federal restrictions forbid a company to own a radio station, a TV station, and a newspaper in the same market unless grandfathered in. Tribune was allowed to keep all three in Chicago because it predates the 1975 law.

The group, which includes Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), urge the FCC to act on the application as soon as possible.

This action could also spur a battle to get rid of the rules, which many feel are outdated because there are so many media choices available to consumers today as opposed to 1975.

Check and mate over the activists. As powerful as these pols are, Tribune will get those waivers and those restrictions are about good as gone.