Greater Media President/CEO Peter Smyth is having a déjà vu moment regarding the FCC and media ownership.
He says in his latest online commentary that, on the one hand, the commission has voted to partially relax the cross-ownership ban in the top 20 TV DMAs, “essentially allowing broadcasters and newspaper owners in those markets to consolidate,” he writes.
Yet, at the same time, the agency wants to deregulate satellite radio and let the two companies to unite.
“The irony of these contradictory positions is breathtaking,” Smyth writes. “Two satellite operators who have spent themselves into financial deep water get a regulatory hall pass while local radio gets taken to the woodshed even though it has been both responsive to its communities and challenged by a multitude of shifting media habits. The FCC needs to be consistent across the board.”
The situation reminds him of when radio regulations were being re-written in the 1990s. Back then, Greater Media Founder Peter Bordes filed comments opposing radio deregulation.
“A vibrant radio industry starts with a grass roots effort, not through government mandate,” Smyth writes, urging radio operators to get involved in their communities and find out how their facilities can make a difference in the lives of listeners and advertisers.