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FCC's Ajit Pai Really Loves Media Consolidation
Seriously? A Bigger Comcast is Your Top Priority?
by Karl Bode 03:45PM Friday Feb 08 2013
High prices, limited competition, inaccurate meters, below the line predatory fees, inaccurate government broadband mapping data -- there's a long laundry list of things that could use fixing in the current U.S. broadband and television landscape. So what's the top concern of brand new Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai?

Click for full size
Pai's top worry is whether or not already mammoth corporations will be allowed to get larger.

Speaking at the Media Institute Luncheon this week, the new Commissioner expressed his desire to see media consolidation rules loosened given we're awash in oodles and oodles of competition:
quote:
Given the realities of the modern marketplace, I have come to believe that we should relax or eliminate many of our ownership rules. Here, too, the Internet transformation is having a dramatic impact on television broadcasters. The competition that they face for viewers and advertisers is stronger than it has even been. This demands fundamental changes in their business models. The days when Americans’ home video options were limited to a few broadcast television channels are long gone. Our regulations have to reflect that reality.
Both Democrats and Republicans at the FCC have been taking heat from consumer advocates for plans to loosen media consolidation rules. Those groups argue that allowing one giant company to own all the newspapers, up to 2 TV stations and up to 8 radio stations in one town seriously harms opinion diversity, connectivity, competition, and local jobs.

The goal of course is to create larger, more profitable media monopolies without the pesky government trying to prevent a laundry list of monopoly harms. A politician loyal to say, Comcast, can't just come out and say that -- he or she has to pretend that their position is about "modernizing regulation" our "ensuring adequate infrastructure investment," even if there's thirty years of hard data showing that this and similar positions are indisputable nonsense.

Even if you willfully ignore a generation of historical data about the potential harms of media consolidation, with all the issues current plaguing TV and broadband, the quest to allow giant corporations to get even larger is seriously your priority pet project? Pai's a walking, breathing example of the FCC's total failure to represent the public, and Democrats and Republicans alike have made it very clear they couldn't care less about real issues impacting consumers -- and their wallets. Pretense to the contrary just adds insult to injury.

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cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

Few broadcast channels

quote:
The days when Americans’ home video options were limited to a few broadcast television channels are long gone.
Great. So we've gone from a few broadcast channels owned by multiple different people/companies to many different broadcast channels owned by a few people/companies. Not sure which is better (or worse).
Expand your moderator at work

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

Re: Few broadcast channels

what thehell might as well at this point
maybe once there is only one mega corp left in the US the people will wake up

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

Re: Few broadcast channels

said by elios:

what thehell might as well at this point
maybe once there is only one mega corp left in the US the people will wake up

Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy? If so, the mega corp you refer to is Brawndo. Or BnL (Buy n Large) corporation in Wall-E?

I don't think people will be waking up.

FarmerBob

join:2000-12-21
Littleton, CO

Re: Few broadcast channels

Touché
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
Mineral Wells, TX
I agree.. and let wireless do the same thing.. then let the government break them up in 25 different segments

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

To late

Clear channel radio owns all the radio stations here besides NPR.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

1 recommendation

Re: To late

They don't own anywhere near all the stations. But if you want to blame someone, blame Bain Capital for buying a profitable radio company that wasn't obsessed with laying off everyone they possibly can and trashing it. It is only a matter of time before Clear Channel fires all their air staff and uses syndication nationwide because Bain buried them in debt and made them lose over 400 stations.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: To late

said by silbaco:

They don't own anywhere near all the stations. But if you want to blame someone, blame Bain Capital for buying a profitable radio company that wasn't obsessed with laying off everyone they possibly can and trashing it. It is only a matter of time before Clear Channel fires all their air staff and uses syndication nationwide because Bain buried them in debt and made them lose over 400 stations.

Every time I read about Bain Capital I cannot help but to think of the classic vikings from stories. Rape, Pillage, Burn.. Sail away to the next target.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: To late

It's called Vulture Capitalism. Take companies and rape them for every penny you can make, and leave them to die. Not your problem, as long as you're making $$$ and getting bling.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

TV

The FCC has made it nearly impossible to create a TV station in this country, despite there being ample room for more stations in many areas. That's the real problem. It doesn't matter who owns them, they all have network television anyway.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: TV

said by silbaco:

The FCC has made it nearly impossible to create a TV station in this country, despite there being ample room for more stations in many areas.

Are there companies waiting in line to start up new TV stations? I seriously doubt it.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: TV

You doubt something you have no knowledge about.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

1 recommendation

Re: TV

said by silbaco:

You doubt something you have no knowledge about.

Do you know of any companies that have been denied licenses?
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: TV

the better thing would be actually trying to get on a cable system. Good luck.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
The issue isn't just if there are companies waiting to start these stations. The real issue is how licenses are handed out. In the past, if you had two or more applicants for the same allocation, then the FCC would pick a winner based on several factors, including the perceived commitment of each applicant to serving the local community. Granted, this was a subjective process, but we don't have to worry about that anymore, since Congress mandated that the FCC assign the license to the highest bidder in an auction. So now, if you're a local guy who wants to build a local station, and a company like Clear Channel wants that license, that company will almost certainly get it, since they can doubtless outbid you. And companies will often snatch up licenses to keep out competition. In fact, that very thing happened here back in the 1990s. A new allocation was opened up on channel 23, and Sinclair didn't want to have another station competing with their WTTO/WDBB combo. At the time, ownership limits kept them from going for the license themselves, so they arranged to have another entity bid on it. The station had to be put on the air or the construction permit would expire, so it did go on the air--with a shopping channel, and it stayed that way until it went bankrupt a few years ago and was donated to the University of Alabama.

So the deck is stacked against any potential independent companies putting stations in the air in all but the smallest markets that the big companies don't care to enter. And, even in those markets, if there's the potential to relocate the station to a larger market (and you'd be surprised how far a station can be moved), then a large company may still be interested, in which case you will certainly be outbid.

Oh, one more thing. You may have heard about low power FM stations, which were supposed to bring local, community-based programming back. Well, at the urging of large broadcasting companies, represented by the NAB, and even public broadcasters, Congress passed legislation to forbid these stations on the first and second-adjacent channels to a full-power station. The stated reason was to prevent potential interference, but no one believes this, since full-power stations don't have to be spaced that far from each other. The real intent was to reduce the number of available channels that could be used by an LPFM, since third-adjacent channels are hard to come by and can be impossible to get in larger markets with more stations. And, just for clarification, what this means is, if you have a full-power station on 95.5, then the closest LPFM stations could be no closer than 94.9 and 96.1. A really clever way to keep out potential competition.
big_e

join:2011-03-05

Re: TV

I think channels 2-6 should be turned into an expanded radio broadcast band, either digital or analog. Very few broadcasters use these channels for DTV because atmospheric noise, skip, and large receiving antenna sizes, make low band VHF unappealing.

The biggest problem would be getting radio manufacturers to produce new radios to cover the expanded broadcast band, and the sheer number of old radios that wouldn't cover it, guaranteeing low listener count for whoever puts a station there.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: TV

Actually, if you are willing to carve out 76-88 MHz for the expanded band, getting the radios to work might not be so hard. Japan includes those frequencies in its FM band, so their radios already go that low, so enabling it on new radios sold here may not need much more than different firmware.

The main issue will be ensuring that the expanded band isn't just filled up with more of the same. Right now, a good number of AM stations are taking advantage of the fact that the FCC will allow them to broadcast on an FM translator, so you're seeing lots of those pop up. The maximum power for them is 250 watts, and many operate with less power than that, so their range is limited. If an expanded band is opened, expect these stations, many of which are owned by big companies, to demand they be allowed to move their FM licenses there and boost power. The FCC has been encouraging failing AM stations to surrender their licenses to relieve overcrowding on the AM band, so allowing them to relocate to an expanded FM band on the condition that they surrender their AM license might seem, to the FCC, like a good idea. Of course, this all assumes that an expanded band happens at all, something the incumbents will fight tooth and nail.
skittleluvor
Premium
join:2012-10-13
Santa Fe, NM

funny

It's funny: As I am reading this article, I look up at the top of the page and see a banner ad for Comcast Broadband.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: funny

said by skittleluvor:

It's funny: As I am reading this article, I look up at the top of the page and see a banner ad for Comcast Broadband.

This isn't CBS. The opinions here often chastise the hand that feeds them. It's refreshing.

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM
Make sure your using ad blocking with your browser and the annoyance will go away.

Comcast will eventually be made to play in the same as Centurylink,Verizon, and the others.
Fees, extra taxes..taxes...taxes and of course hidden charges.

Cthen

join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI
That's odd, my account here is not even premium and I don't see any ads.
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

1 recommendation

Click for full size
Banner ad? What's a banner ad?

FreedomBuild
Well done is better than well said
Premium
join:2004-10-08
Rockford, IL

Re: funny

said by b10010011:

Banner ad? What's a banner ad?

Exactly
--
»www.rockfordremodeling.biz
»www.rockfordremodeling.biz/blog/
Papageno

join:2011-01-26
Portland, OR

Not a real surprise

Quelle surprise! Apologist for fatcats wants to make life easier for fatcats at the expense of everyone else! Film at 11.
dylking

join:2001-07-31
Saint Paul, MN

Maybe...

All I can think of is Demolition Man, where there ends up being only one restaurant in the future.

maybe that's what Mr Ajit Pai is after...
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA

Re: Maybe...

In the future all restaurants are Taco Bell...

60632649
Premium
join:2003-09-29
New York, NY

Big toothed political

That guy's got some serious big teeth, he looks like a standard sharky political, trust that at your own peril.

Just sayin'.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Looks like Bababooey

Let's merge everyone voff!

YukonHawk

join:2001-01-07
Patterson, NY
Reviews:
·Comcast

So we've almost gone full circle.......

Back in 1984 Ma Bell was broken up into Baby Bells because it was a monopoly......then before you know there were M&A's and fast forward to today there really two conglomerates that run the Telco landscape today, Verizon and AT&T ...so much for progress.

Same thing is happening in the cable market.....It's a dog chasing it's own tail. Nothing but a big pile of steaming horse crap.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Just wondering

how much dirty money the carriers are slipping to the FCC under the table to get what they want? The biggest issue is really that the FCC is owned by the very people they are supposed to regulate. They don't get paid much in their jobs, so they need money on the side to enjoy life properly with drugs, hookers, free vacations to Cabo, high paid "jobs" for their family members, and promises of "jobs" when they finally leave the FCC. It's the same at the DOJ and the other agencies. Corruption rules.