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Momentum Gained To Break up American Media Concentration!

Priscilla Grim / Reuters 8:40am Thu Dec 5 '02
priscilla (at) article#221056

Federal Communications Commission Chief Commissioner Michael Powell calls for new hearings after an unprecedented submission of comments from media makers and consumers to the FCC public record.
Announcement of how to enter comments into FCC public record for current review of Media Ownership Rules.

Enter your comments into the FCC public record!

You have the opportunity to file comments to curb media concentration.

The new deadline for public commentary on the current ownership rules that affect radio and television ownership is on January 2nd. Your participation is crucial. Go to On that page you will find explanations of all the rules that are being reviewed, and a link to a step by step guide on how you can enter your comments, and show the FCC that media concentration (IE - the creation of AOL/TimeWarner and others) does not reflect the interests of the independent thoughts of we the people.

Please forward far and wide. We have only a little more than a month to curb further media corporate mergers.

FCC to hold open hearing on media ownership rules
Wed December 04, 2002 07:21 PM ET
WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission will hold a public hearing in February on the agency's plans to rewrite rules that limit ownership of newspapers, television stations and radio stations, Chairman Michael Powell said on Wednesday.

The FCC is reviewing caps on how much of the national television audience one entity should be allowed to reach; limits on local radio station concentration; and a ban on some common ownership of television and radio stations, or television stations and newspapers.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, initially proposed the idea of holding several hearings around the country on the subject and last month said he would move ahead with holding several public forums starting early next year.

Powell, a Republican, initially was skeptical about holding public hearings as was the agency's office in charge of the media ownership review, but now the FCC will hold a hearing in February in Richmond, Virginia, a mid-sized media market.

"Severe budget constraints and a commitment not to further delay completion of this critical proceeding are also paramount considerations in conducting such a hearing and the choice of venue," Powell said in a statement.

The chairman has said in the past that he prefers more liberalized rules, which has angered consumer advocates who fear that allowing greater consolidation in the media sphere could limit diversity and local programming.

The rewrite of the rules follows a series of decisions by a federal appeals court that harshly admonished the FCC for not sufficiently justifying the ownership limits.

"The Commission is committed to developing a set of media ownership rules that are internally consistent, tailored to the modern media marketplace and empirically justified," Powell said in his statement.

The agency hopes to have a proposal for the commissioners to review by the spring of 2003. Companies like Tribune Co. TRB.N , owner of newspapers and television stations, are anxious to go on buying sprees if the FCC relaxes the rules.

However, Copps, calling the decision on ownership limits the single most important one the FCC will make next year, renewed his call for finding ways to get input from other parts of the country.

"I don't believe there is any substitute for getting out and talking with America about this critical decision," Copps said in a statement. "We must not rush to judgment on whether (to) scrap our media concentration protections."



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