Copps, Tate Talk Mergers, Digital, Diversity At NAB2007
April 17, 2007 at 9:02 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioners MICHAEL COPPS and DEBORAH TAYLOR TATE appeared at the NAB2007 FCC Breakfast TUESDAY to discuss broadcasting issues with NAB Pres./CEO DAVID K. REHR. The discussion covered topics like the ownership rules review, HD RADIO multicasting, the possibility of FM translators rebroadcasting AM stations, the federal obesity task force, employment and ownership diversity, and the digital TV transition in 2009.
COPPS criticized former FCC Chairman MICHAEL POWELL as wanting "to flash the green light generically" for any and all merger proposals; COPPS said he prefers a "holistic" approach looking at each case on an individual basis. But TATE and COPPS avoided discussiion of the active SIRIUS-XM merger proposal, although COPPS noted that "it's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of consolidation" and that Chairman KEVIN MARTIN has already noted that approval would be a steep climb for him and, COPPS added, "it would be a steep climb for me, too."
...it's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of consolidation...
The lack of diversity in ownership and employment is "concerning, if not appalling," TATE charged, but she added that the problem is "not just in the broadcasting industry, it's across our society." COPPS said that the media "has an obligation to nourish diversity in AMERICA... We are failing the course." He suggested ideas like allowing minority station buyers more time to arrange financing or extending construction permit deadlines for minority CP holders.
COPPS, discussing the ownership rules hearings, lauded MARTIN for being more open to public open meetings than his predecessor and voiced hope that the delay in reaching a final draft of proposed rules will allow for "half a dozen more" meetings.
On the DTV transition, COPPS said that he is "really worried... The need is for public education." He noted that the NTIA has only $5 million budgeted for DTV transition education, not enough when "there's so much work to be done." TATE added that "the important thing is, what's the message? The message may be a little garbled and confused."