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Broadcast Armageddon

Grab your wife, your children, your friends. Store away your videotapes, record your favorite shows now — quickly. Disaster is about to consume us. Media Armageddon is coming. The end as we know it will come soon, starting as an epidemic of media mergers. The hundreds of media companies will be quickly consumed by a few, omnipotent corporations. In the end, they will join together, creating a viewer's worst nightmare — Mega Corporation.

Mega Corporation's unquenchable thirst for sinfully large profits drives this monster. This white male-controlled machine is just waiting to sacrifice the needs of our women, children and minorities upon its altar of profits. The result will be the extinction of viewer choice, programming variety and yes, even that lofty goal of every liberal — diversity.

The result of this coming mega merger will be Americans with no media choice. The Corporation will control the vertical. The Corporation will control the horizontal. Brace yourselves, we are about to enter the Twilight Zone of Media Deregulation.

Sound extreme to you? Apparently not to our two Democrat FCC commissioners, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps. They think the media sky is falling because of the FCC's June 2 action to raise media ownership caps.

Commissioner Copps characterized the rule changes as “…centralization, not localism; uniformity, not diversity; monopoly and oligopoly, not competition.” His diatribe went on for 23 pages!

Based on the extremist's hype about the FCC's actions, viewers might think that the entire commercial television industry had decided to broadcast nothing but pornographic films 24 hours a day, complete with obscene dialogue.

The real truth is that the broadcast industry is highly regulated. And, unless broadcasters have the freedom to manage their businesses like other American enterprises, they won't be in business. Without, dare I say, profits, there won't be any free television. Perhaps Copps and his ilk prefer we have more government-funded (that means tax-payer funded) networks like PBS and NPR.

Unlike those taxpayer-supported channels, commercial broadcasters are companies that strive to serve their viewers' (customers') needs. They are only rewarded financially by how successfully they meet those needs. You see, commercial stations don't get free money from the government like PBS and NPR. They have to earn every dollar they get. Each commercial station has to serve their audience or they don't survive. Apparently Copps, Adelstein and their whining media kin, can't grasp that fact.

So, unless those media doomsayers are willing to fund all TV stations, they need to shut up and let the industry, viewers and the realities of capitalism work out the details. Powell did exactly what Congress said to do and the results will be exactly what our industry needs — the flexibility to grow, sell, buy and produce profits just like other companies.

So, take a deep breath Mr. Copps. Relax. The sky isn't falling and the media Armageddon you predict isn't coming.

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