Martin letter says he was unaware of draft report on local station ownership

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in a letter this week that he was unaware of a June 2004 draft report on the impact of local television station ownership on local news coverage. (Read about the report in “FCC publishes previously unreleased TV ownership report as new questions surface.”)

Martin, who was responding to a letter from Boxer, told the senator that he was unaware of “any other commissioners, past or present” who knew about the report. The last attempt to change commission rules regarding media ownership produced a flood of objection from the public, many of whom argued that greater concentration of media ownership would result in less broadcast localism. Ultimately, the courts put a halt to the changes. Michael Powell, Martin’s predecessor, was chairman of the FCC during that attempt at changing the rules.

In his letter to Boxer, Martin said it “is unclear why this report was never released to the public” and that he is attempting to learn why it did not get a public airing. The report “appears to cover issues relevant to both our open localism proceeding and our recently commenced media ownership proceeding.”

On Sept. 19, the commission made the report available on its Web site.

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To read the draft report in its entirety, visit: