From the Aug. 4, 2006 edition of the mediageek radioshow:

Eighty-four members of the House, all Democrats, save for one Republican, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin calling on the Commission to conduct its review of media ownership rules in an open fashion. As I reported last week, the Martin plans to hold a half-dozen public hearings on the issue, it still isn’t known if any of the FCC’s research reports or any of the proposed changes will be made available before the hearings, or even before the comment deadline of September 22.

In their Aug. 1 letter, the lawmakers told Martin that the FCC’s announced plans are not enough, and further demanded that, “the FCC must also fully disclose all proposed rule changes and give the American people a fair chance to review and weigh in on any such proposal. Such activity should include, at the very least, another extended comment period with second visits to all of the markets targeted by the current… town hall meetings.”

The FCC’s last attempt at revising media ownership rules failed when it was struck down by the 3rd circuit court of appeals in 2004. The new rules would have greatly loosened ownership restrictions on the ownership of television stations and eliminated the cross-ownership ban that prevents most newspapers and TV stations in the same market from being co-owned.

The Commission’s approach to conducting that process was widely criticized by interest groups across the political spectrum for its closed nature and then Chairman Michael Powell’s indifference to public input.

That’s why public interest groups and the FCC’s two Democratic commissioners are keeping up pressure on Martin and the two other Republicans on the Commission to make this proceeding as open and public as possible. If public comments to the FCC are any indication, then it’s fair to say that there’s very little public support for loosening media ownership rules. More and more people are understanding the connections between ownership and the content and news they see and don’t see in their newspapers and on their TVs.

For more on the issue, including easy instructions for submitting your comments to the FCC, look to the mediageek website at Also look to

Letter text:






One response to “radioshow news headline: HOUSE DEMS URGE OPENNESS ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP REVIEW”

  1. George Avatar

    This is another load of hooey. The Commissioners have already announced they will hold public hearings, and have already open the process of public comment. This is another attempt to create an issue where none exists.

    Laws and regulations are not popularity contests. The Founding Fathers did not intend for every little detail in this country to be put to a popular vote. That is why they created a representative democracy. They don’t add up the number of comments and the point of view with the most comments wins. It is based on the law and what is fair. The federal government needs to have private ownership of broadcasting because the government can’t afford to pay for it.

    The government wants to continue to devalue broadcasting licenses by printing more of them, because the government now charges a fee for all new licensees. So as long as the government insists on adding more and more stations to the spectrum, companies will be justified in asking to be able to own more of them. I think owners would support legislation to stop loosening of ownership rules in exchange for a government moratorium on new frequencies.

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