MMTC Asks FCC to Delay Media Ownership Changes

WASHINGTON—In the media ownership proceeding, minority groups have generally asked the FCC to hold off on making any final decisions about any relaxation of the rules until the commission can assess the effect that any change would have on minority station ownership.

The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council met with commission officials this week and asked them to refrain from making any final decisions on ownership until MMTC has a specific study conducted.

MMTC wants to hire BIA, at its own expense, to evaluate whether and to what extent there may be an impact on minority station ownership if the commission relaxes or repeals its cross-ownership rules.

“The study would comprise carefully structured interviews of incumbent and former principals or executives of minority-owned broadcast stations in markets in which cross-ownership waivers are in effect. MMTC will reach out to a variety of stakeholders for input into the study design and methodology,” writes MMTC President David Honig in comments to the FCC describing recent conversations with Chairman Julius Genachowski, Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, plus several staffers as well as Robert McDowell and a representative of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

There’s been intense lobbying on a draft order circulated by the chairman at the end of the year. We’ve reported that that draft recommends partially relaxing or even eliminating what broadcasters consider to be outdated prohibitions on newspaper-radio and TV-radio cross-ownership.