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Martin: FCC Needs to Watch For Unintended Results

Martin: FCC Needs to Watch For Unintended Results

FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin says the agency needs to be mindful of unintended consequences from changing media ownership rules. He feels radio may be a good example. Some radio consolidation may actually be due to the commission’s definition of a market rather than the numerical limits set by Congress, he told attendees of a Columbia Law School forum on media ownership last week.
“For instance, there are towns in Texas in which one company owns 7 of the 8 stations licensed to that town. But to be able to own seven stations in a market, Congress said there should be at least 30 other stations. Yet, the owner purchased the 7 stations in compliance with our rules because too often our rules treat small towns like big markets. The problem lies in the FCC’s definition of a “market,” and in an obscure counting method for determining how many stations in a market one entity owns. We have raised both these issues in the current proceeding, and we need to take this opportunity to address them.”