Powell Announces Ownership Field Hearing

As the FCC continues the most sweeping review of media ownership rules in a generation, Chairman Michael Powell announced a public hearing on the issue - and outside the Washington Beltway no less.

The FCC will hold a hearing in Richmond, Va., in February. Details, such as who will be permitted to speak at the hearing, were not released.

The announcement follows a pointed statement by Commissioner Michael Copps that he would hold field hearings on his own if the commission did not. Powell said the hearing will supplement an October 2001 public hearing and "the extensive public record that has already been accumulated."

He cited "severe budget constraints" and a commitment not to delay the proceedings in naming the time and place. He stressed that a recently released set of 12 studies will continue to provide a foundation for the commission's decision.

Several major ownership regulations are under review, including the television single-market duopoly rule, the nationwide broadcast ownership cap and even the long standing rule against a single entity owning more than one major network.