Assessing Media Ownership Rules

I just posted to the Urbana-Champaign IMC my analysis of the FCC’s media ownership rules changes and the bill that exited the Senate Commerce Committee’s today that would rollback some of the FCC’s changes.

In order to make this all more concrete, I try to figure out how these rules and this bill would affect my local media market in Champaign-Urbana, IL. It’s pretty easy to understand in the abstract how the FCC’s loosening of ownership rules is a bad thing, but I think it’s even more helpful to understand how much more concentrated our local media would become. Or, even see how the Senate bill will not stop all aspects of impending consolidation.

Even if you don’t live in Champaign-Urbana and don’t care much about this media market, I hope maybe my analysis can provide some basis to help you assess the situation for your own local media, especially if your local news outfits haven’t seen fit to do it yet.

Which brings me to a brief tangent/rant — the day after the FCC made its rule changes (June 3) our local public radio station (the typically good WILL-AM) ran a short news item on the decision during it’s 5 minutes of local news inserted in Morning Edition.

But did they talk to anyone about the local media market in Champaign-Urbana? Noooo! Did they talk about even the regional Central Illionis media? Noooo!

No, they talk to some prof up in Chicago about the effect on the Chicago media. Which is all fine and good, except that you could read that in the Chicago Tribune or some other Chicago media.

Of course, I’m sure the reason they focused it on the Chicago media is because we don’t have any decent coverage of local media in Champaign-Urbana, and it doesn’t look like any of the Communciations or Journalism profs at the hometown University of Illinois actually pay much attention to our local media. No, that would require both giving a shit about your local media environment, and having to do a little harder research, since there’s no reportage in our local paper and the data simply isn’t handed to you on a platter like in big markets.

Now, I will note that at least two papers in Central Illinois actually have media columns and reporters — the Springfield State Journal-Register and the Peoria Journal-Star. Hell, I’ve even talked to the media reporter at the Journal-Star about the very topic of media ownership in Central Illinois. So, I know that there are at least some other people besides me paying some attention to local media ownership issues.

Anyway, that’s my rant. And my advice is that if you don’t know who owns your local media, try and find out. If it turns out that’s hard to do, then make sure you share that info with as many people as possible. I think we’re most likely to derail the media monoliths only when most average people understand that it is happening right in their own backyards.






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