by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
cable, fcc, media ownership, regulations


FCC Caps Cable Growth, Slightly Relaxes Media Ownership Rules

from the yawn dept

As expected, the FCC agreed today to ever so barely relax media ownership rules. While we rarely find FCC Chair Kevin Martin's arguments convincing, on this one he's correct -- and we still can't figure out why people are so up in arms. The details show that it's an incredibly minor change to the rules. In the top 20 media markets, newspapers can merge with a single radio or TV station -- but not if that TV station is one of the top 4 stations in that market. In other words, newspapers who are struggling to get beyond just being newspapers can finally expand into other media areas. I can't understand why people are freaked out about this. At best, a newspaper can now own a tiny radio or TV station. The fear of only one point of view getting through is totally laughable for a variety of reasons. First, there are more sources of media than ever before in history -- by a long shot. To think that a single TV station or newspaper can dominate the conversation is laughable. Second, since it can't involve a top 4 TV station, it's hard to believe that this new entity will have all that much dominance in the market. There seems to be nothing wrong with this proposal. Of course, don't expect this to go anywhere. Thanks to misleading hysteria over the issue, the Senate quickly stepped in to block the FCC's ruling, at least for the time being.

However, in another decision that doesn't make much sense at all, the FCC did vote to cap cable growth. As we've pointed out in the past, the rationale for this makes almost no sense, and will likely decrease choice of providers in many regions. With media ownership, you're talking about a highly competitive market. With things like cable, you are not -- so it makes very little sense for the FCC to cap cable's growth -- except as a favor to Kevin Martin's friends in the telcos.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Princess Leia, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 7:25pm


    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers"

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

  2. identicon
    mullah cimoc, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 7:37pm

    mullah cimoc say aemriki not having him free press. for save ameriki nation usa people must to make new federal communication law:

    1. each tv station and each the radio station must be own 100% by person live within physical area serve by tv station. this call the local ownership.

    2. no single person to owning more than 1% of any one tv station stock certificate. this make the diverse ownership.

    3. abolish him networks, abccbsnbcfox. then to letting local own station form own networks with power from bottom up (flow from shareholder to board of director to ceo), not him top down like now in usa.

    4. this keep the free press and stop the rupert murdoch type man keep all ameriki so stupid if buy him corporation which to own so many station and newspaper and radio and keep ameriki the stupid people.

    after follow mullah cimoc method benjamin frankling to be the proud.

    for true info: stop1984now@yahoo.com

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

  3. identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 8:16pm



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

  4. identicon
    boris, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 10:43pm


    This is a case of the good, the bad, and the ugly... All rolled in one.

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

  5. identicon
    Ferin, Dec 19th, 2007 @ 4:56am

    People are upset becasue they see this as another step on the slope to consolidation. You've already got clear channel dictating that stations play it's VP's editorials and fake news services, and fox buying up every media outlet under the sun. People are concerned that news services that they rely upon for accurate and unbiased information are being slowly gobbled up to form conglomerates that end up serving the public interest even less than they do now.

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

  6. identicon
    Chinook, Dec 19th, 2007 @ 1:31pm


    It is absurd that some folks think that the media landscape is becoming consolidated. I do some work with NAB, and I can tell you that if anything media is more fragmented than ever before!

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

  7. identicon
    US Guy, Dec 26th, 2007 @ 7:33am

    The person who wrote this entry apparently doesn't know anything about the media industry. Newspaper profits are already healthy. What is sick is their ability to report actual important news because, since big media insists on growing profits as opposed to a level margin of profit, papers lay off staff to improve their profit margin. If this issue was as minor as the media shill who wrote this piece insists, then why are editors from newspapers across the country told not to cover the story of media consolidation?

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

  8. icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 26th, 2007 @ 11:09am


    The person who wrote this entry apparently doesn't know anything about the media industry.

    Nah, just been reporting on it for over a decade. Clearly, I know nothing...

    Newspaper profits are already healthy

    As I've reported many times in the past. Did I say otherwise above? Nope. I said that they're struggling to get beyond just being a newspaper, which is absolutely true.

    If this issue was as minor as the media shill who wrote this piece insists

    Just because you disagree with me hardly makes me a "shill." If you read my analysis on a regular basis, I think you'd find it hilarious to claim that I'm a major media "shill."

    You've just lost all credibility.

    why are editors from newspapers across the country told not to cover the story of media consolidation?

    Because that's simply not true.

    AP: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hlYj9ojD7umgLJiTK_I0DfwU50iAD8TO41Q81
    Kansas City Star:
    Seattle Post Intelligencer:
    http: //www.newsday.com/business/ny-bzfcc1219,0,5997954.story
    LA Times:
    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/business/la-fi-fcc19dec19,1,4269311.story?coll=la- headlines-business-enter
    Atlanta Journal Constitution:
    Salt Lake Tribune:
    Biloxi Sun Herald:
    Bloomington Pantagraph:
    Williamette Live:
    NY Times:
    The Capital Times:
    Richmond Times Dispatch:
    http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news/business.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2007-12-19-0135.htm l
    Journal Inquirer:
    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19129418&BRD=985&PAG=461&dept_id=16 1556&rfi=6
    Wall Street Journal:
    Chicago Daily Herald:
    Cherry Creek News:
    Denver Post:

    And that's just a quick sampling of papers big and small across the country, all of whom wrote about media consolidation, showing that you apparently are incorrect in claiming that papers are not covering the story.

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

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