Copyright 2001 Daily News, L.P. Daily News (New
April 28, 2001, Saturday SPORTS FINAL
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 6
LENGTH: 442 words
Murdoch: Post could be toast He'd dump tab, if necessary, to gain 2nd local TV
BYLINE: By PAUL D. COLFORD DAILY NEWS
Murdoch's News Corp. said it "will sell or shut down" the New York Post if
forced to choose between owning the paper or two local TV stations.In a new
government filing, Murdoch's lawyers said that, "despite News Corp.'s
significant investment in the Post during the past seven years, the Post
continues to incur losses."
The money-losing paper
"accounts for approximately only 4% of advertising dollars spent on the top five
daily newspapers" in the region, News Corp. said in a striking admission.
News Corp. made the revelations while continuing to seek
government approval of its plan to buy Chris-Craft Industries, a purchase that
would give Murdoch - who already owns WNYW/Channel 5 - a second local TV
station, WWOR/Channel 9.
However, the planned addition
of WWOR to Murdoch's media empire has complicated his Chris-Craft acquisition
because federal law prohibits joint ownership of a TV station and a newspaper in
the same market.
Murdoch has been allowed to operate
WNYW and the Post under a 1993 waiver to the so-called cross-ownership ban of
the Federal Communications Commission. The waiver was approved after the Post's
previous owner was in bankruptcy.
Now, News Corp. is
asking the FCC to approve the Chris-Craft deal and allow the company to retain
the Post, pending the outcome of a separate proceeding on whether the
cross-ownership ban should be relaxed in certain markets.
Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and co-publisher of the Daily News, said
recently that he or his "affiliates would be prepared to make a bid to purchase
the New York Post" if News Corp. were forced by the FCC to unload the tabloid
before the agency approved the Chris-Craft deal.
the event I or my affiliates so purchase the New York Post, we would be prepared
to operate it as an editorially independent newspaper, subject to the execution
of a Joint Operating Agreement or similar arrangement with the Daily News,"
Zuckerman wrote in response to a query from lawyers representing groups
challenging the Chris-Craft deal.
Speaking this week at
Columbia University, Murdoch said the cross-ownership rule was
no longer necessary because there were enough competing media outlets in
the New York area.
The challengers to his Chris-Craft
deal include the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Consumers Union, Black Citizens for a
Fair Media, the New York Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ
Next week, Col Allan, an Australian
newspaperman who has worked for Murdoch for more than two decades, will join the
Post as its editor in chief. In replacing Xana Antunes, he will be the tabloid's
third top editor in two years.