Lawmaker: FCC 'Ludicrous' on HBC-Univision Merger
July 10, 2003
While many policy-watchers opine on the effects of the FCC's new media concentration rules on the English-speaking media, the proposed merger between two Spanish giants is also drawing resistance on Capitol Hill.
July 8, Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) told the Senate Commerce Committee that the Spanish-language media market is "even more concentrated" than the English market, with just two companies controlling nearly the entire TV market. But the proposed merger of Univision (the top Spanish TV company) with Hispanic Broadcasting Co. (the top Spanish radio operator) will create "unacceptable" market power, he said.
"Under the tenets of the merger, virtually all Latinos would see and hear their news and entertainment from a single source: Univision," he said. The commission, he said, is erroneously concluding that Spanish-language media does not constitute its own market separate from the English media.
NBC-owned Telemundo, the nation's second-largest Spanish network with about 15 percent of the audience, also opposes the merger.
His comments came in a hearing on radio consolidation. The committee took no action. The FCC decision on the merger is expected in days.