(Originally posted December 17, 2007)
The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote tomorrow on rules that would allow even greater consolidation of media in this country. Specifically, it would allow newspapers in major markets to acquire television stations in those same markets.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin -- who has some good ideas about giving consumers greater choices by "unbundling" cable television packages -- is way off base on the issue of newspaper/television cross-ownership. I can't fathom whence came the perceived urgency of such rules, but it's not hard to imagine the long and powerful reach of media moguls like Rupert Murdoch.
I've contacted Senators Johnson and Thune in South Dakota. While I doubt there is much that can be done at this late date to persuade Chairman Martin and the FCC to delay the vote tomorrow, the Senate can and should come together in support of S.2332, the Media Ownership Act of 2007. Among other things, it would require 90 days be provided for the public to comment on any proposed media ownership rules put forward by the FCC. It would also require a separate FCC proceeding to examine the impact media consolidation is having on localism. It's no surprise to anyone that truly good local service by commercial broadcasting stations has been diminishing over the past decade -- badly!
Hopefully, more citizens will contact their U.S. Senators to urge support of S.2332. It's an important piece of legislation that can have a positive impact on media services in this country. Learn more about media consolidation at my earlier postings about the FCC.