One of the five Federal Communications Commission members due to vote on US media relaxation is calling for closer scrutiny of whether consolidation is in the public interest.
Jonathan Adelstein, one of two Democrats on the five-commissioner FCC, believes media firms taking advantage of the proposed changes in media rules should be required to show regulators that the public is not losing out.
FCC chairman Michael Powell wants laws banning ownership of more than one TV station or a TV station and a newspaper in a single market to be relaxed [WAMN: 13-May-03]. The issue goes to FCC vote on June 2.
Adelstein argues that broadcasters seeking to buy extra stations or print titles should be asked several questions, such as their exact plans for the news staff, whether separate editorial authority will be maintained and how complaints about omissions will be handled.
“The FCC should then require an annual showing from the consolidated broadcaster that it met its commitments,” Adelstein told Washington think-tank The Media Institute.
The commissioner believes the public will hit back if consolidation boosts broadcasters’ bottom lines but does not deliver benefits for consumers.
Data sourced from: MediaWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff