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FCC Charts New Ownership Course; Includes Localism

FCC Charts New Ownership Course; Includes Localism

Broadcast ownership rules are back under the FCC microscope.
At its first public meeting back with a full complement of commissioners, the FCC launched another media ownership review to include multiple radio limits and the ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. In its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the agency seeks comment on how to address issues raised by a federal appeals court for its 2003 attempt to revise the rules. It has also opened a comprehensive review of all multiple ownership rules.
Chairman Kevin Martin said the FCC intends to conduct some independent studies, including how people get news, media competition, localism, minority participation and the impact of ownership on “family-friendly” programming.
Martin said public participation is “integral” to the process; to that end, there will be six public hearings on media ownership outside Washington.
There will also be an extended public comment period of 120 days.
All five commissioners approved the review. However Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein dissented with portions of it. Copps said the public needs to be more included in the process and the FCC needs to be more willing to ask tough questions. He also said localism should have more prominence.
The chairman is including localism in the review.
Commissioner Adelstein said the commission is launching “a shallow process.”