The Genachowski Plan For Cross-Ownership
The FCC is in the midst of its quadrennial review of broadcast ownership. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has circulated a draft order for consideration which calls for the preservation of existing ownership rules and modest reform that he believes could help strengthen local journalism. He also believes it's important to guard against excessive consolidation. Here's more of what the chairman has sent to his colleagues at the commission.
"I proposed to keep the bulk of existing broadcast ownership rules in place, including the rules limiting the number of TV and radio stations that can be co-owned in any market, and the rules prohibiting ownership of more than one major broadcast network; provide various diversity-promoting broadcast opportunities for small businesses and proceed with studies to determine whether additional measures can be taken in the next quadrennial review to promote minority ownership; retain the rule prohibiting TV-newspaper combinations, while providing greater transparency and predictability on waivers, in a way that would strengthen the bar against major TV station-newspaper combinations, and reduce the bar to smaller TV station-newspaper combinations in the top 20 markets; and (4) remove the bar on cross-ownership of radio stations and newspapers. Circulation of the proposed order has led to healthy discussions among commissioners and stakeholders about the substance of the issues and the state of the record before the agency."
Genachowski also says that as the commission considers the issues before it, a few goals are particularly important. They are, "guarding against excessive media consolidation, promoting ownership diversity, enabling robust local news for all communities, and fostering economic growth and opportunity. The growth of the Internet is changing the media landscape, including the economics of local newspapers and broadcasters. At the same time, while broadband adoption is increasing, tens of millions of Americans do not yet have ready access to news and other content available on the Internet, and changes in ownership rules may have different effects on those with or without Internet access."
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