Former FCC Lawyer Claims Localism Study Quashed By Commission
September 14, 2006 at 4:26 PM (PT)
While CONSUMERS UNION, the CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA, and the MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT asked the FCC in a letter sent THURSDAY for an independent probe of the alleged quashing of a localism report, a former lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau told TELEVISION WEEK that two researchers working on the report in 2004 were told by Commission officials to stop work and destroy the records.
ADAM CANDEUB, now a law professor at MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, told the magazine that the study of local television news, which Sen. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA) obtained and sprang on a surprised Chairman KEVIN MARTIN at his renomination hearing TUESDAY, was killed by officials who "said that the project was dead, and to delete computer records." CANDEUB also told the ASSOCIATED PRESS that "every last piece" of the study was destroyed ("the whole project was just stopped- end of discussion"), although the report, in a draft form, appears to have survived and has been incorporated into the localism proceeding, which has been stalled at the Commission for the last few years. The report says that locally owned television stations were more likely to carry local news than chain-owned stations, including about 5 1/2 minutes a night of additional news and three minutes of on-location news.
In a letter released TONIGHT, MARTIN said that he is investigating why the report was not released but notes that the bureau's senior management and then-Chairman MICHAEL POWELL are no longer with the FCC.