Monday, June 02, 2003

The Next Step

As predicted, the FCC voted to remove a bunch of ownership limitations. I predict that there will be a flurry of newspaper/TV station mergers, though I also predict that after a couple of years they'll fall apart. I'm sure the word synergy will get thrown around a lot without anyone ever quite being able to define exactly what that synergy would be.

I'm far more worried about the straight television and radio ownership restrictions being eroded. One company owning 3 stations in one market? Sure will be grand when your local CBS/ABC/NBC affiliates are all owned by one company.

I never thought we could win this one because the FCC is only accountable to congress, and with the plethora of other issues on the table there was no way congress would be proactive on this one. There's some chance they'll be reactive, but not much. I hope some Dems make this an election issue in '04 - not because I necessarily think it'll win people votes but because it's an opportunity to popularize the issue.

Michael Powell has of course explicitly violated the mission of the FCC, which is to protect the public interest. He has been unable to articulate how this move would do anything about harm consumers. Even one of the CNN guys understood this point.