How to Speak to the FCC
So you've heard about tonight's hearing by the five members of the Federal Communications Commision on media ownership, and you've decided to try and speak to the folks who eventually will decide how much media any one company can own in a given community?
Be prepared for a serious wait.
The commissioners have scheduled a seven-hour hearing tonight at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to discuss how the various media ownership rules have impacted the Tampa Bay area. Anyone can sign up to speak during the public comments sections of the hearings, addressing a group of officials who rarely get together in one place outside Washington D.C.
If you're planning to try and speak, a few tips gleaned from the experts:
*Even though the hearing doesn't start until 4 p.m., show up when doors open at 3 p.m. to sign up if you hope to snag a speaking spot; there's lots of folks who want to talk.
*If you have more to say, prepare a written statement that you can hand to the commissioners for addition to the permanent record.
*If you can't get to the 3 p.m. signup, you can always ask a friend to do it for you. But each person can only sign one name, so that person would have to sacrifice their shot at speaking for yours.
Grass roots advocacy groups have been working hard to organize groups of speakers for this event, the fourth of six public hearing scheduled by the FCC on the issue (another advocacy group speaks out here). The other two hearings haven't yet been scheduled, but those in the know don't expect the commission to really start moving on revamping media ownership rules until 2008 -- smack in the middle of an election season.
There may be no more important time for your voice to be heard as a citizen. Perhaps we'll see you out there tonight.
Here's the updated agenda for tonight:
4:00 p.m. Welcome/Opening Remarks
4:30 p.m. Panel Discussion 1: Market Overview / Tampa, Florida Case Study
Dan Bradley, Media General Vice President of News for Broadcast
Bill Carey, General Manager of WFTS-TV and Incoming President of the Florida Association of Broadcasters
Robert Dardenne, Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies at Univ. of South Florida-St. Petersburg
Steve Erlanger, President, Hometown News
Ronald Gordon, President of ZGS Broadcast Holdings
Jim Johnson, Publisher of State of Sunshine, a political blog covering the state of Florida
Eric Klinenberg, Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University
Patrick Manteiga, Editor and Publisher of La Gaceta
Pat Roberts, President of the Florida Association of Broadcasters
Art Rowbotham, President of Hall Communications
Steve Wilson, Investigative Journalist
5:30 p.m. Public Comments
7:30 p.m. Break
8:00 p.m. Panel Discussion 2: Perspectives on Media Ownership
Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Glenn Cherry, President/CEO and Chairman of the Board of Tama Broadcasting
Roswell Clarke, Director of Technical Operations and System Admin., Cox Radio-Tampa
Bob D’Andrea, President of the Christian Television Network
Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap, President of The Poynter Institute
Bob Gremillion, President, CEO and Publisher of the South Florida Sentinel
Carol Jenkins, President of The Women’s Media Center
Larry Lee, Jr., Owner of WFLM-FM/WIRA(AM), Port St. Lucie, Florida
Luis Lopez, Director of Public Relations, Hispanic Alliance of Tampa Bay
Carlina Rodriguez, Director of Organizing Spanish Language, Screen Actors Guild of America
Sam Rosenwasser, President and General Manager of WTSP(TV)
Rich Templin, Communications Director, Florida AFL-CIO
9:00 p.m. Public Comments
11:00 p.m. Wrap-Up/Adjournment
The moderator will be Louis Sigalos, Chief of the Consumer Affairs & Outreach Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC
A live audio cast of the hearing will be available at the FCC’s website at www.fcc.gov on a first-come, first-served basis. The public may also file comments or other documents with the Commission and should reference docket number 06-121 when filing by paper or submit your filing electronically by going to http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/upload_v2.cgi and enter proceeding number 06-121. Filing instructions are provided at http://www.fcc.gov/ownership/comments.html.