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WASHINGTON -- According to news reports, owners of TV stations that carry ABC, CBS and Fox programming called on the FCC and Justice Department to set conditions on the Comcast-NBC merger to protect them from the anti-competative threats posed by the joining of the nation’s largest cable company and NBC, their network competitor.

Stations that carry programming that rivals NBC could be put at a major competitive disadvantage because of the huge market power of a combined Comcast-NBC. Comcast could offer NBC better program carriage deals and would have the incentive to charge more for popular NBC programming or to withhold programming from non-NBC stations.

Corie Wright, policy counsel at Free Press, made the following statement:

"It comes as no surprise that the non-NBC network affiliates are worried about the anti-competitive impact of this unprecedented mega-merger -- to them we say, welcome to the club.

"The affiliates join a growing roster of industry and public interest groups that fear that Comcast's takeover of NBC will have disastrous results for competition. Most importantly, it is consumers that will ultimately foot the bill for this deal through diminished choice and ever increasing cable rates. We look forward to the affiliates’ ideas on how to possibly lessen the negative impacts of this merger. But given the threats to competition this merger poses, it is unlikely they can be remedied by anything but an outright rejection of this deal."

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