Commissioner outlines American Media Contract

Speaking at the Free Press Media Reform Conference in Memphis, TN, Jan. 12, FCC commissioner Michael Copps proposed an American Media Contract that imposes "really tough" public interest obligations on broadcasters in exchange for their use of a "half a trillion dollars" of the public's airwaves "for free."

In the speech, Copps told his audience that the public has a right to expect something in return from broadcasters who have received "free use of the nation's most valuable spectrum."

The public has a right "to media that strengthens our democracy" and "to local stations that are actually local," he said.

The FCC commissioner laid out a strategy for conforming the media to these goals, which included:

  • Backing off further loosening of media ownership rules;
  • Putting teeth into FCC licensing approval and renewal procedures by making station owners prove they are fulfilling his proposed American Media Contract;
  • Promoting minority ownership of broadcast outlets;
  • Expanding the number of local media outlets through added support for "low power, PEG programmers and community wireless;"
  • Protecting new forms of media from consolidation.

To read a transcript of the Copps speech, visit