FCC Announces Public Hearing on Media Ownership in Tampa
Do you worry about the effect on public discourse when 80 percent of an area's radio outlets are controlled by three companies or the same corporation owns the largest TV station, the Number Two newspaper and one of the biggest web sites in town?
Well, now you have a change to express your concerns in person. Because the Federal Communications Commission has announced it will hold a public hearing April 30 in the Tampa Bay area on the issue of media ownership.
In 2003, the FCC held just one public hearing before voting to loosen media ownership rules, but the new strictures were deemed impractical by a federal appellate court and sent back to the agency for revamping.
Since then, FCC chair Michael Powell (Colin's son, right) has been replaced and the new cheese Kevin Martin has promised six public hearings on the issue. The Tampa area hearing would be the fourth, and will likely draw hundreds of people concerned about the impact of allowing too few corporations to control too much of the country's big media outlets. (See some reports on the Los Angeles hearing here.)
I wrote about this issue back in 2003, when the FCC's actions created an unlikely alliance of conservatives concerned about the rising explicitness of big media and liberals concerned that left-wing political discourse would be limited even more thasn it already is by profit-focused companies.
Something tells me they're going to get an earful in the Tampa Bay area.