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Chicago: Call It Merger City

7/12/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

WASHINGTON — The Federal
Communications Commission
is helping to keep Chicago
a hotbed of merger-review
activity, at least when it comes
to Comcast’s proposed deal to
take control of NBC Universal.

The FCC will be in the
Windy City on Tuesday, July
13, to hear from stakeholders
and critics of the proposed
joint venture with NBCU’s
current owner, General
Electric, that would leave
the biggest U.S. cable
operator with a 51% stake
in one of the country’s
biggest programming
conglomerates.

It is not exactly the field
hearing critics of the deal
had called for. It’s billed as a
forum, but it will be a long
one (1 p.m. to 8 p.m.), with
two panels and an open-mic
session for questions and
answers. It is scheduled to be
held at the Thorne Auditorium
at Northwestern University
Law School.

The House Energy &
Commerce Committee’s
communications
subcommittee planted its
own banner in Chicago last
week, having held a field
hearing on the Comcast-NBCU
merger in Chicago on July 8.

The FCC forum is scheduled
to be streamed live on the
Web, with C-SPAN covering it
for later play.

The House gathering last
week was not streamed
live because the venue (the
Dirksen Federal Building)
wasn’t equipped to handle
such a broadcast, according
to the committee. A panel
representative said a
video of the hearing and a
transcript would be made
available.

September