Media Companies Still Seeking Double Standard On Consolidation

from the party-line dept

The FCC's been doing a series of "town meetings" in various places around the country to discuss media-ownership rules, and they typically provide a nice illustration of how the media industry wants to bend government regulations to suit its purposes and hinder the rest of the market. The FCC held such a meeting (via Orbitcast) in Tampa this week, where people from various media outlets talked about how they should be allowed to consolidate to their heart's content, while members of the public voiced their dissatisfaction with the effects of all that consolidation on local media. In particular, it's worth highlighting this quote from the incoming president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the state's trade group of TV and radio stations:
"Anyone with a computer can now compete to serve the local audience," said Bill Carey, general manager of WFTS-TV and incoming president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, who advocated for looser rules that would allow companies to own more outlets. Those new outlets are serious competitors for news, Carey said, and illustrate how traditional media companies need more flexible rules for how they operate.
By "flexible rules", he means that the companies should be free to buy up any media outlet they wish, with no restrictions on the number controlled in a single market by a single owner. Of course, when XM and Sirius want to merge, it's a different story from traditional broadcasters. This guy's comments highlight the competition old media outlets are facing from upstarts, be it satellite radio companies or, as he puts it, "anyone with a computer". They'd also seem to further undermine the NAB's hypocritical contention that its members don't compete with satellite radio, as well as the industry's double standard in asking the government for the ability to merge at will, while trying to block the XM-Sirius merger.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:23am


    grats techdirt on building the ugliest site on the internet. for producing this vile heap of putrid vomit, we salute you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tarky7, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:35am


    I would have to agree, very clumsy guys. Why don't you push the envelop and make it really really ugly, so it makes some sort of retro statement,

    Just a though, right mow it is simple ugly, and the beige or yellow is pretty horrid, if you want me to get specific, that and the layers on the top.

    Straight shooting...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:35am

    Re: congratulations

    I agree that the new site design is not pretty but to say they're the "ugliest site on the internet" is a little harsh. Just look at any other news site out there. They're filled with advertisements to the point of being unreadable.

    Carlo, Feel free to delete this and the preceding post at will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    John, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Re: congratulations

    PhysicsGuy seems to have issues. Your site is probably bigger then his or something like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    comboman, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:38am


    So because they face competition from "anyone with a computer" (i.e. small, local and adaptable) they need to compete by merging and expansion (to becoming big, global and rigid)? That's a bit like saying McDonald's is having trouble competing with small local restaurants that have greater variety and healthier menu choices, so they need to buy out Burger King and Wendy's.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    ohbitchplease..., May 2nd, 2007 @ 10:07am

    Congradulations Ugly

    Wow, seems like some psudo designers got up on the wrong side of the half-caf, extra hot latte this morning.

    Tarky7 is the best example of what I like to call 'Idiot Designer Opinion'. They make nasty comments about sites but fail to realize their nasty blog (note the lack of comments: looks like someone whipped their butt on my screen.
    Tarky, seriously, you shouldn't comment about anyone site design. Ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Green Grass, May 2nd, 2007 @ 11:01am

    Turning it around

    If XM/Sirius are allowed to merge, should all media ownership rules be thrown out as well?

    Curious about some thoughts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    arbulus, May 2nd, 2007 @ 11:09am

    It's actually more like saying McDonalds faces competition from anyone with a stove and skillet, so Mcdonalds needs to own every single restaurant in a market and every single store where you can buy stoves and skillets, in order to be able to effectively compete.

    It's bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Beefcake, May 2nd, 2007 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Turning it around

    Thoughts solicited, so here's mine.

    No, because they are unrelated. Sirius/XM merger has to clear anti-trust hurdles, but that's not what the FCC media-ownership rules are about. They are about allowing separate voices in each market, not competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Steven, May 3rd, 2007 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Turning it around

    Is it really a problem that we don't have separate voices anymore?

    I don't think we should throw out the anti-trust hurdles (competition is good), but do the current rules reflect reality?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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