FCC's Copps Rips Consolidation Again In Future Of Music Coalition Speech
October 5, 2011 at 4:34 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS told the FUTURE OF MUSIC COALITION TUESDAY (10/4) that "Our media is in trouble and AMERICA is in trouble -- and the plights of both are inter-connected," repeating his opposition to media consolidation and asserting that "getting our journalism and our media right is Step Number One in getting our democracy right."
"How about the FCC just saying 'No!' to some of these god-awful media mergers?," COPPS asked. "How about an FCC that looks at a radio or TV station’s performance for the people before it renews their license -- and if we find someone isn’t doing their public interest job, we give the license to someone who will? How about positive action on some of the many proposals presented to the Commission to enhance minority and female ownership of America’s media properties? I still don’t 'get' how we can truly reflect this country’s awesome diversity if media is owned and operated mostly by white males." COPPS blamed "the entrenched power of incumbent interests with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers. And some of it is a media that so often seems just plain oblivious to what’s going on around us."
COPPS asked the group for activism against consolidation, calling for "Prodding from the heartland. Pressure from citizens who come to see the value of organized, collective action. If we want a media that can help put AMERICA back on the right road, we -- you and I -- have to fight for them. Commit on the issue, put shoulders to the wheel, speak out, sing out, write about, gather people in the tent, march, petition and make yourselves heard as never before."
The commissioner sounded a similar note in remarks at the Forum on Information Needs of Communities in PHOENIX MONDAY (10/3), warning that "a deadly poison of financial speculation, bottom-line economics, and government abdication of its public interest responsibilities had laid huge swaths of America’s media low" and that the result is a loss of investigative journalism. As in his TUESDAY remarks, COPPS said that "the continuing onslaught of mega-media mergers" needs to be resisted and the FCC should be "checking a station's performance" and be "really aggressive about safeguarding the public interest."