FCC Discusses Localism At Portland, ME Hearing
June 29, 2007 at 5:38 AM (PT)
At the FCC's localism hearing in PORTLAND, ME THURSDAY night, Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS repeated his long-running themes of anti-consolidation and public-interest programming, calling for "an honest-to-goodness licensing system that doesn’t grant slam-dunk renewals, but stops to ask if a license holder is really doing its job to serve the common good," and a three-year renewal cycle. COPPS added, "Let's also put what stations are doing to meet their public-interest obligations up on the web, so citizens can know how their airwaves are being used. And let’s make sure that all that new digital capacity we’re giving broadcasters returns something positive for our communities and local talent and civic issues coverage."
... an honest-to-goodness licensing system that doesnâ??t grant slam-dunk renewals, but stops to ask if a license-holder is really doing its job to serve the common good.
Asserting that "the FCC has failed to protect the interests of the American people," Commissioner JONATHAN ADELSTEIN decried that PORTLAND radio has only one local owner among full-power commercial stations. He complained that "'breaking news' has been replaced with 'breaking gossip.' Serious coverage of local and state government has diminished. Quality children’s programming has been short-changed. And while news operations say they have to slash resources, some are offering up to $1 million for an interview with PARIS HILTON. Equally alarming, real investigative journalism and thoughtful reporting have given way to an 'if it bleeds, it leads' mentality."
Commissioner DEBI TATE concentrated on her campaign against childhood obesity, saying, "It is my hope that those of you who are broadcasters will not only meet your legal requirements regarding CORE children’s programming, but more importantly that you will also provide more balanced, positive and healthy messages. I challenge you to be an industry leader and help us solve this national epidemic of childhood obesity."
Chairman KEVIN MARTIN did not attend, staying in WASHINGTON where his baby has been hospitalized. Most commenters sounded the familiar theme that stations do not provide enough local public-affairs programming and news coverage, but MAINE ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS President SUZANNE GOUCHER touted local stations' coverage of recent storms as an example of how they serve the community.