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FCC chairman to hold media ownership hearing

FCC Chairman Michael Powell will hold a public hearing on media ownership issues in Richmond, VA., in February. Powell said the hearing would provide another opportunity to solicit public opinion about the issue. He said the commission is committed to developing a set of media ownership rules that are internally consistent and tailored to the modern media marketplace.

Commissioner Michael Copps, who has pushed for public hearings on the subject welcomed the hearing, but called it only a good first step. He called the ownership issue the single most important decision that the commission will make next year and that more than just one East coast community should be involved by holding multiple hearings.

According to Copps, at issue is the FCC’s review of rules that seek to protect localism, independence and diversity in the media. These rules, among other things, currently limit a single corporation from dominating local TV markets; from merging a community’s TV stations, radio stations and newspapers; from merging two of the major TV networks; and from controlling more than 35 percent of all TV households in the nation.

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