Back in 2003, the FCC tried to change regulations concerning corporate ownership of media outlets. Then-chairman Michael Powell wanted to alter the rules without taking into account public opinion. Suffice it to say, there was unprecedented resistance in the form of citizen feedback, the bulk of which was decidedly negative. FMC collected and analyzed data on the public comments; the report can be found here. read more
Today’s Senate Commerce Commitee hearings on media ownership, localism and diversity found several Senators stepping up the anti-consolidation rhetoric. Can a showdown with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin be far off? read more
Today, the Federal Communications Commission moved to lift the 32 year-old ban on common ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the country’s 20 largest cities. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin provoked the ire of more than a few citizens and public interest groups by arranging for what many (including some members of Congress) have deemed as a rush to a vote.
The changes aren’t as sweeping as those proposed in 2003 by Martin’s predecessor, Michael Powell. The new rules would allow a newspaper to merge with a TV or radio station only if the publication is not among a city’s top four and there are at least eight independent media voices in the market. read more
On Wednesday, December 13, FMC released a quantitative, 152-page report of the history of radio consolidation called False Premises, False Promises. In honor of the occasion, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) attempted to discredit the release of an independent analysis—that is, one not written by the industry or its consultants—of the radio industry by distributing a pre-emptive press release that called our research “questionable” and filled with “dubious data”. This is FMC’s point-by-point rebuttal to the NAB’s specious claims. read more
Late last Friday afternoon, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced the sixth and final hearing on media ownership, to take place in Seattle on November 9. As was the case with the October 31 hearing on localism in D.C., Martin has given the public precious little time to prepare. This once again calls into question his commitment towards considering public opinion. Of course, citizen sentiment regarding consolidation is almost entirely negative. But that’s no excuse for ignoring concerns.
Is it all just a charade? Check out what FCC Commissioners Copps and Adelstein have to say: read more
Today’s FCC hearings on localism in media featured stellar testimony from a panel of witnesses nearly united in their belief that diversity in media ownership and community-centric broadcasting are of enormous public value. The hearings took place on Halloween, and, judging from the response of concerned citizens to the possibility of further consolidation, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin should be spooked.
Despite short notice and a very small venue, more than 150 citizens showed up at the FCC’s doorstep. (Some as early as 5 and 6 in the morning!) Those who made it inside, including a panel of powerful witnesses, made it clear that media consolidation is not in the best interest of any community — be it rural or urban. read more
It‘s been reported that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is aggressively attempting to push through changes to media ownership laws which could result in further consolidation of not just radio, but also television and print media. Although the FCC claims to recognize the importance of localism, competition and diversity, Martin’s own actions indicate otherwise. read more
Today’s the day to begin making the nation’s media more equitable. The FCC will host a hearing in Chicago to take public testimony as it reviews its media ownership rules. This is hugely important: removing the radio ownership caps lead to the rise of Clear Channel’s radio empire and a lack of diverse media voices in many cities. If you want to testify at the hearing, you must sign up. Here’s the e-mail: fcc504 [at] fcc [dot] gov. The hearing will be held at the PUSH Rainbow Coalition headquarters in on the South Side at 4 p.m.
Kevin Martin is god-darn angry. The FCC chairman has lashed out over a ruling this week by a New York Appeals Court that overturned his agency’s citing of several major networks for on-air expletives uttered by Nicole Richie, Cher, a contestant on “Survivor,” and others. Interestingly, his own statement is laced with expletives.
The court rebuked the FCC Commission for being “divorced from reality.” It’s not hard to see why: the commission ruled the mere utterance of certain words like “shit” or “fuck” implied that certain obscene excretory or sexual acts were carried out. Of course — in reality — these words are often used as simple exclamations. read more
As we’ve exposed this week, Clear Channel is giving indie artists a raw deal by forcing them to give up performance royalties as a condition of getting airplay on its hundreds of stations. Remember, as a condition of its settlement with the FCC over payola allegations, Clear Channel and other broadcasters were required to play 4,200 hours of local and indie music. It’s replacing one form of a payola with another.
Sneaky. Greedy. Egregious. Any number of pejoratives could be used to describe the move, but it is especially troubling because digital performance royalties are becoming an ever more important source of revenue for artists as technological changes drive the way music is delivered. read more