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FCC Taking Beating For Plans to Gut Media Consolidation Rules
As Free Press Runs Petition Campaign to Gain Attention
by Karl Bode 10:50AM Thursday Dec 06 2012
The FCC is being slammed by everyone from consumer advocacy outfits to former FCC staffers for their latest stance on media consolidation. The FCC is preparing to relax long-standing rules that limit corporations from owning radio, television stations and newspapers in the same market. Under the weaker rules, one company could now own your town's ISP, all of its newspapers, up to 2 TV stations and up to 8 radio stations.

Consumer advocates have rather correctly observed that this limits the quality and diversity of the news and information a community receives, consumer group Free press running a campaign the last few weeks gathering signatures for a petition to thwart the FCC's plan. In an interview with Bill Moyers, Craig Aaron of Free Press ponders why a President who supported these rules would support an FCC trying to eliminate them:
quote:
Well, that’s the $64 million question. Barack Obama as a senator was one of the leading voices against the exact same rules that his FCC chairman is pushing forward now. He wrote op-eds, he co-sponsored legislation to throw out these exact same rules, legislation that passed in the Senate. And yet, his own FCC chairman, his appointee, is suddenly in a huge rush to get this deal done, and if these reports are to be believed, they’re going to try and do this by Christmas, before the end of the year.
In a blog post, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps laments the FCC's decision, and blames a government culture that's addicted to M&A's, and no longer serves the public:
quote:
The public sector is at least equally culpable because government—especially the FCC where I served for more than a decade—blessed just about every media merger and acquisition that came before it. Then it proceeded, over the better part of a generation, to eviscerate almost all of the specific public interest guidelines that had been put in place over many years to ensure that the people’s airwaves actually serve the people.
The upcoming FCC vote, which will be conducted behind closed doors, is being justified by the FCC as a way to help struggling newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, which the agency argues can only survive if they can get funds from larger companies currently prevented from buying them. Though consumer advocates would like to know why exactly the Tribune needs government saving, and why at such a steep cost?

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DC DSL
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The Reason...

...that newspapers and local TV and radio stations are dying is in no small part the direct result of the consolidation over the last 25 years. The deep-pocket conglomerates control the broadcast product and make it increasingly difficult for independents to obtain it. On top of that, the current marketplace makes it impossible for alternatives that exploit the Internet as a medium to gain sufficient traction. Break up the megaliths like Comcast/NBC/Universal, Viacom, Clear Channel, and News Corp. Restore the previous limitations on market and national ownership. Not only will competition flourish, the quality of product will dramatically improve, since it won't be a single, captive audience from coast-to-coast.
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TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
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Re: The Reason...

The reason for this is Raycom who recently purchased a HUGE amount of Liberty assets needed away around the anti-trust issues. This was due to Raycom would NOW own over 50% of the media/TV stations in markets. So instead of having 2 stations now, you get 1 station that runs syndicated news coverage. Tape it once and reply it on the other stations with a generic background from the 60s.

And breaking up Comcast Communications, ViaCom or Clear Channel won't give you much competition. The amount of money that would be needed wouldn't be there. Especially when CC owns 5+ stations in one market. And they're ALL in the same studio.

chip89

join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: The Reason...

That's what its like in Cleveland all the stations are owned by Clear Channel.

FFH
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said by DC DSL:

Break up the megaliths like Comcast/NBC/Universal, Viacom, Clear Channel, and News Corp. Restore the previous limitations on market and national ownership. Not only will competition flourish, the quality of product will dramatically improve, since it won't be a single, captive audience from coast-to-coast.

Independent newspapers and TV stations can no longer exist because of the costs involved.

Newspapers not owned by some large national corporation are nothing but ad platforms spewing the AP Newswire and pages of ads. None can afford locally paid reporters on their own.

The days of local TV stations with their investigative reporters are long gone and not coming back.

Changing FCC rules can't reverse the grim economics of the situation.
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TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: The Reason...

And when you live in some cities the local news paper stories become the local news. LoL.

DC DSL
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said by FFH:

Independent newspapers and TV stations can no longer exist because of the costs involved.

Newspapers not owned by some large national corporation are nothing but ad platforms spewing the AP Newswire and pages of ads. None can afford locally paid reporters on their own.

The days of local TV stations with their investigative reporters are long gone and not coming back.

Changing FCC rules can't reverse the grim economics of the situation.

Absolutely wrong. Conglomerates only serve the interests of their executives and Wall Street, not the greater public interest. Advertising, which is the fuel of print and broadcast, has been forced into a pricing model that only favors large enough businesses and conglomerate-size audiences. Break up those conglomerates and ad rates will have no alternative but to return to levels that are compatible with smaller-market players. Ditto for content. In broadcast, it means programming has to become more competitive since it will no longer enjoy the monopoly of single-point national carriage. In print, with local ad revenue bumped up, papers can again hire the reporters and staff to deliver the focus and coverage they used to. And, there will be greater freedom to experiment with Internet or VOD alternatives on a market-by-market, and product-by-product basis. The current model is completely focused on preserving the classic venues and revenue model, and completely defies and ignores the demands of consumers.
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b10010011
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3 edits
Agreed: I live in a small market every single radio station except for the college station, a low power independent, and religious stations are owned by one company. Twenty years ago the main AM news station had two hours of local news in the morning, an hour of local news at noon, and locally originated programing on all day long. Now they are all 24/7 nationally syndicated talk radio with five minutes of national news on the hour, no local news or local content at all.

We only have one TV station in the area. It used to have an hour of two of local news in the morning. About a year ago that station was bought by some conglomerate. They came in fired the entire staff, now it is a robo-station playing old reruns 24/7. No local content or news.

We basically have no local news beyond a small newspaper owned by Hurst, I think. That has been cutting news staff for the last decade leaving us with very little local content.

I constantly hear people (conservatives especially) pissing and moaning about the "drive by media" and how they all take a single story and repeat it. That is because there is no media anymore. There is only two or three sources of news and the vast majority of media outlets have no real staff to research and write news, all they can do is read or reprint the news that comes from corporate headquarters.

You will hear these same people arguing that restricting media ownership will somehow restrict free speech and the free press.
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rdmiller

join:2005-09-23
Richmond, VA

Nobody's watching

Except for sports, nobody watches what used to be called broadcast TV anymore. They will be going the way of newspapers. The FCC is just making sure someone is around to turn out the lights.
firedrakes

join:2009-01-29
Arcadia, FL

Re: Nobody's watching

the government. the btchs of the corporations

Suggarstalk

@190.218.99.x

Government sponsored monopoly.

This is so wrong it goes on the par with corruption and betrayal of public trust. Last I heard, News Corp - of Murdoch fame. was acquiring 2 more papers in major US markets.