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First Mediaworks


Dorgan Calls FCC 'Unbelievably Arrogant'

WASHINGTON -- December 19, 2007: After promising to follow through on his pledge to move through a law to overturn the FCC's Tuesday vote to partially relax the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) called the FCC's vote "unbelievably arrogant" and predicted that a resolution of disapproval will prevail.

The FCC, Dorgan said, "decided that their main issue was the need to relax ownership rules so that we can have more concentration in American media. It is exactly the wrong thing to have done."

The FCC went ahead, Dorgan said, despite the letter from 25 Senators asking the commission not to proceed with the vote and the Commerce Committee's unanimous approval earlier this month of a bill that would have blocked the vote.

"We have in this country dramatic concentration in America's media," Dorgan said -- and he believes voicetracking is one of the evils that concentration brings. A listener might be driving in Salt Lake City, Dorgan said, "and hears the disc jockey say, 'Well, it's a great morning here in Salt Lake City, the sun's coming up, we've got just a few clouds in the sky, it's going to be a beautiful day, the traffic is kind of light,' and you think, 'Well, this person, obviously, is in Salt Lake City. I'm listening to a Salt Lake City station.' But no, that person is actually in a basement studio in Baltimore, MD ... It's going on all across this country. It's called voicetracking."

Dorgan continued, "Localism is gone in many companies that have radio stations and television stations. And yet the FCC, that is supposed to wear a striped shirt and be a referee -- that's what a regulator is about -- the FCC apparently believes that we don't have enough concentration in the media."

Dorgan showed charts detailing the multimedia holdings of a number of companies, including News Corp., Time Warner, Disney, and CBS Corp. to dispute FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's point that there's been an increase in media voices. "More voices, the same ventriloquist," Dorgan said.

"It is unbelievably arrogant, what they have done yesterday," Dorgan said of the FCC. He said the commission "ought to hang its head" and predicted that a Senate resolution of disapproval of the ownership vote will prevail.


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