As the FCC moves ahead with a full house of five once again, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly made an appearance on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” to discuss some of the things that will be on the agenda. Of particular interest to broadcasters are the Republican commissioner’s views on media ownership rules.
These regulations, according to O’Rielly, are in urgent need of an overhaul. “This is something that the previous commission ignored. We had a statutory obligation to modernize our media ownership rules to reflect the marketplace. Nobody looking at this today can say that our media rules match what is happening in the media marketplace. I think it is our obligation and responsibility to do so, and hopefully, we can correct the mistakes of the last commission.”
Any change in the media ownership rules could lead to a significant amount of further consolidation among broadcasters, including TV and radio groups. Will these changes help the market, and are they in the public interest?
O’Rielly responded, “There have been deals done when the rules haven’t changed, and deals done when the rules do change. The market changes and some companies fall into favor, there is good management and bad management. They make bets on where they think it should go, and then thing change. You have companies that bought into radio, and other companies with different formulations. If we are able to modernize our rules, I think you will see some properties, some assets being transferred to reflect a marketplace that is not as singular as it once was. You are talking about a very global marketplace with lots of new players that have not been taken into account.”