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Consolidation:

It's not just about keeping all the money, it's also about control.

Those who plan to control what you see and hear, to influence what you talk about, to set the agenda for what is newsworthy will never stop:

Now that the radio stations are virtually without any ownership monopoly restrictions.


 

    NAB Wants Cross-Ownership Rule Repealed (R&R) 9/15/99
NAB Wants Cross-Ownership Rule Repealed

Joint Board Chairman K. James Yager testified before congressmen
today that the 25-year-old rules prohibiting newspaper and broadcast
cross-ownership are outdated. "We see no reason for keeping this
rule in place," he said. Yager spoke during the House Subcommittee
on Telecommunications' hearing on broadcast ownership rules,
where Hill members and broadcasters also discussed raising the
national audience limit for TV broadcasters from 35%. While most Hill
members supported that idea, both the NAB and congressman
Edward Markey support the current standard. Markey said the FCC’s
recent loosening of the duopoly rules has already created
"communications cannibalism," as evidenced by the recent
CBS-Viacom merger agreement.
 

Diversity for the Radio Waves  (LATimes 9/13/99)
                      Since 1996, when Congress lifted caps on the number of
                      radio stations a single network could own, broadcast chains
                      have snatched up so many local radio stations that commercial radio
                      formats sound the same from San Diego to Schenectady.
                      Fortunately, FCC Chairman William Kennard is now pushing a plan
                      that could return color to radio's barren commercial landscape. He
                      wants to hand out hundreds of new, low-wattage FM radio licenses
                      to "give voice to those ideas not always heard, but which many
                      yearn to hear." The tiny stations could air anything from talk radio in
                      Korean to open-mike sessions for singer-songwriters and
                      comedians, parents discussing how to keep kids out of
                      neighborhood gangs or churches serving ethnic communities. Their
                      reach would be measured in a few miles.
                      At a conference in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month, large
                      broadcasters declared war on Kennard's plan. Fearing competition
                      that could cut into their $14-billion annual revenues, they claimed
                      the new stations would interfere with existing radio signals.
                      However, none of the FCC's extensive tests have detailed
                      interference problems so far, and any subsequent problems could
                      be fixed simply by reducing the wattage allowed under the licenses.
                      Sensing that their interference argument might not fly, broadcasters
                      are pressuring Kennard to let them buy up to 10 microradio stations
                      each in an auction. That would defeat Kennard's whole purpose,
                      frustrating any opportunity for diverse voices on the dial. It would
                      be particularly unseemly to require community groups or churches
                      to bid alongside broadcast Goliaths, given that the FCC handed the
                      well-heeled broadcasters, free, $70 billion worth of "digital"
                      spectrum licenses in 1996.
                      The low-wattage licenses should be allocated on a first-come basis,
                      and at least half should be noncommercial. Owners should live near
                      the station. Applicants who find themselves in competition for a
                      given slot should be given an opportunity to work out conflicts by
                      cooperation or compromise, such as splitting air time.
                      At the Orlando convention, many radio executives spoke as if the
                      FCC existed solely to further their narrow self-interest. David
                      Siddall, an attorney for a company that's upgrading the equipment
                      of commercial broadcasters, said the "FCC's most important goal"
                      should be giving existing broadcasters more spectrum room so they
                      could offer new digital services like promotional photos of
                      performers and advertisements for CDs.
                      Wrong. The FCC's most important goal should be protecting the
                      public interest, which means remembering that the airwaves are a
                      public trust. Kennard's microradio plan is a significant, if modest,
                      step toward that goal.

                      Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved

Broadcast Ownership Reform Act' Introduced

                    Though the aim of Sen. John McCain's bill is to "assure timely,
                    rational and complete FCC resolution of all pending proceedings
                    re-examining the current radio and TV broadcast station rules," it
                    looks as though the bill will affect TV more than radio. The legislation
                    would, however, eliminate the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership
                    ban. It also seeks to raise the limit on the national TV networks'
                    audience reach from 35% to 50% and allow the FCC to raise it further
                    if public interest warrants it.
SN] What "public interest" would that be ... the utter elimination of all competition?
 
 

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