Committee Questions Martin; Boxer Introduces Suppressed Report

During his renomination hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was grilled about media ownership, telephony issues and EAS.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), pulled out a report she said had been suppressed by the commission; it concludes that locally owned TV stations produce more local news than do non-locally owned facilities.

Martin noted that he was not the chairman in 2004, when the report was written, and that he had not seen it. He reiterated that point later in the week with a letter to Sen. Boxer, saying that again, he had not seen the report, nor had his staff.

"It is unclear why this report was never released to the public," he said. He pledged to find out why, but also noted that the senior Media Bureau staff and former Chairman Michael Powell are no longer at the commission.

Martin said that he would add it to the record for the pending localism and media ownership proceedings. The report finds that locally-owned TV stations produce more local news than do group-owned stations.

(Radio World)