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Topic: media consolidation
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October 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Some things you have to see to believe, right?
Well, take a look at the interactive graphic below by Free Press, a media watchdog group that closely monitors the Federal Communications Commission. It shows how four media conglomerates have quickly amassed news stations nationwide. It is disturbing stuff.
The FCC clearly continues to ignore its own rules on promoting competition, localism and diversity within broadcast media. The result is less independent and minority ownership, fewer perspectives on the air — and a weakened democracy.
For a look at what’s happening on the ground, check out this Sunday guest column by San Francisco-based broadcaster Ravi Kapur.
The Seattle Times opinion page’s Tuesday editorial highlights how media consolidation is hitting close to home with the sale of KOMO 4 to Sinclair Broadcast Group and the pending sale of KING 5 to Gannett. The former deal should have been blocked; it’s not too late for the FCC to stop the latter.
June 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., continues to demonstrate strong leadership on the issue of curbing media consolidation.
As the Federal Communications Commission undergoes an important review of media ownership guidelines, Cantwell and her colleagues on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee are getting to know Thomas Wheeler, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next chair of the FCC.
In his first initial meeting before the panel last week, Cantwell told Wheeler the newspaper industry’s efforts to purchase more broadcasting stations should be scrutinized, especially after Gannett’s announcement it plans to purchase broadcasting giant Belo’s 23 television stations — including KING 5 in Seattle. Five of those broadcasters are in other cities where Gannett already owns a newspaper. Current rules prohibit media companies from owning multiple properties in the same market.
“And while the purchase is subject to the approval of both the FCC and DOJ, I think Gannett is trying to basically use these ownership rules, use the whole shared service agreement, as a way to get around those rules. So I’m very concerned about that whole issue,” she said.
Wheeler responded, “Senator, I understand the seriousness of this issue. And I have long been an advocate of diversity of voices. On the specific issue that you just raised, I also note that the chairman has asked the [Government Accountability Office] to opine on this issue. And I think that’s appropriate and called for. And I look forward to their opining, their opinion. But I think you said the key thing: that when the commission looks at these issues – competition, localism and diversity – are the issues that should be the touchstones. Not business plans.”
Watch the full June 18 Q&A between the senator and Wheeler in the video below, courtesy of Cantwell’s YouTube channel: