Associated Press | Content Bridges
FCC chairman Kevin Martin described the media ownership proceeding as “the most contentious and divisive issue” to come before him. “That proved true as the two Democrats in the commission blasted the proposal in unusually strong language for the normally sedate agency,” reports the AP. | Ken Doctor: “The cross-ownership relaxation likely will do little in support of promoting more journalism, more reporting or more diversity in the voices heard or subjects covered.”
Chairman Martin’s proposal would permit cross ownership only in the largest markets where there exists competition and numerous voices. The revised rule would balance the need to support the availability and sustainability of local news while not significantly increasing local concentration or harming diversity. Under the new approach, the Commission would presume a proposed newspaper/broadcast transaction is in the public interest if it meets the following test:
(1) the market at issue is one of the 20 largest Nielsen Designated Market Areas (“DMAs”);
(2) the transaction involves the combination of a major daily newspaper and one television or radio station;
(3) if the transaction involves a television station, at least 8 independently owned and
operating major media voices (defined to include major newspapers and full-power
commercial TV stations) would remain in the DMA following the transaction; and
(4) if the transaction involves a television station, that station is not among the top four ranked stations in the DMA.
All other proposed newspaper/broadcast transactions would continue to be presumed not in the public interest.
…the Commission would consider the following factors in evaluating whether a particular transaction was in the public interest:
(1) the level of concentration in the DMA;
(2) a showing that the combined entity will increase the amount of local news in the market;
(3) a commitment that both the newspaper and the broadcast outlet will continue to exercise its own independent news judgment; and
(4) the financial condition of the newspaper, and if the newspaper is in financial distress, the owner’s commitment to invest significantly in newsroom operations.
By Pat Walters
May 1, 2007
In Tampa Monday night, the FCC heard from advocates of media consolidation, opponents and a number of people who don’t fit either category.
5/29/2003: FCC Technocracy
5/29/2003: Ownership Caps and Fuzzy Media Math
5/29/2003: Cross-Ownership, Quality, and How the Future May Look
6/2/2003: Can PBS and NPR Save the Democracy?
6/2/2003: On Independent Ownership
6/2/2003: FCC Rules Won’t End World
6/2/2003: Highlights from FCC Ownership Regulation Meeting
6/3/2003: FCC Loosens Rules
6/3/2003: Deregulation is Not Convergence