Broadcasters, Papers Urge FCC To Loosen Ownership Rules
December 6, 2006 at 10:42 AM (PT)
A coalition of radio and TV broadcasters and newspapers sent a letter to FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN and his fellow Commissioners WEDNESDAY (12/6) urging loosening of media-ownership rules. A long list of companies, including the four major TV networks and their affiliate groups, CLEAR CHANNEL, TRIBUNE, BONNEVILLE, COX ENTERPRISES, HEARST-ARGYLE, and a group of companies under the "SMALLER MARKET BROADCASTERS COALITION," served as signatories for the letter.
"Technological and marketplace developments -- especially the growth of multichannel programming distributors and the Internet -- have fundamentally altered the landscape in which the commission’s ownership rules were originally adopted," the letter states. "Consumers nationally and in local markets of all sizes now enjoy access to, and benefit from, a vast array of information, opinion, and entertainment from a wide range of diverse sources, including television and radio stations, nonbroadcast and multichannel outlets, print publications, and the virtually unlimited voices available on the Internet. As a result of this explosion of outlets and new technologies, television and radio broadcasters are experiencing unprecedented challenges in maintaining their audience shares and the advertising revenues essential to the survival of nonsubscription media. Indeed, the primary challenge facing local stations in today’s highly competitive environment is remaining economically viable and accordingly able to continue to serve their communities with free, over-the-air entertainment and informational programming -- including news, emergency information, and other local programming that their audiences need and expect.
...retaining severe ownership restrictions does not promote the public interest in todayâ??s digital multichannel marketplace...
"The Commission should modernize its local-ownership rules to reflect these dramatic changes in the media marketplace and to ensure that local television and radio broadcasters, as well as daily newspapers, are not unfairly hampered in their ability to serve the public by outmoded regulations that limit them and not their competitors. Simply put, retaining severe ownership restrictions does not promote the public interest in today’s digital multichannel marketplace; to the contrary, it hinders local stations’ abilities to provide increasingly costly programming and other diverse, valuable services to local audiences."
Read the entire letter by clicking here.