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Senate Panel Moves to Slow FCC Media Push

Dec 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The Senate Commerce Committee is trying to delay a Federal Communications Communications vote on media ownership until next summer.
On a voice vote today, the panel sent to the Senate floor legislation that would require the FCC to develop a new local ownership rule and seek public comment on it before proposing any ownership changes and seeking public comment on that.
Even with committee approval, the measure may not succeed in delaying the FCC because it still needs Senate and House approval before Dec. 18. Still, the unanimous voice vote in the Senate, with no committee member speaking up against a delay, does not bode well for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.
Mr. Martin is expected to face angry questions tomorrow during an appearance before a House Energy and Commerce Committee whose chairman on Monday sharply questioned the agency’s commitment to openness. Mr. Martin already has already alienated some executives in the cable industry with his support of channel-by-channel pricing. His refusal so far to delay the FCC ownership proceeding, threatens to similarly alienate Congress.
The measure would delay a planned Dec. 18 FCC vote by at least 180 days. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said a delay is warranted.
“The last thing we need in this country is more concentration in one media,” he said.
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., complained that the FCC was trying to act too quickly without having adequately examined the implications that a loss of local media ownership could have.
“There is a process to do these things and I don’t think it has been adequately vetted by the FCC,” Mr. Lott said. “There are real risks to the explosion of cross ownership especially in smaller cities.”

One Comment

  1. It appears even a pro like me can still be taught a few things. Thanks a lot for your post.

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