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Posted 19 Jun 2002 12:15:40 UTC

As we recently reported, there has been a fair amount of criticism of the current trend towards media consolidation in the radio industry. Apparently ignoring this criticism, however, the FCC (according to a Reuters article and other sources) is considering lifting many of the remaining limits on consolidation of ownership of other forms of media.

Currently, for example, it is forbidden for any one company to own more than one national broadcast network, such as CBS or Fox. Under the FCC's proposed changes, it may become legal for a single company to own two or more networks. Similarly, the FCC is considering striking rules that currently prohibit individual corporations from owning more than one television station in a single market, owning a television station and a newspaper in the same city, or owning television stations that can reach more than 35% of the nation's TV viewers.

These rules will be studied by an FCC commission, which is expected to report to FCC chairman Michael Powell by next spring. The commission will be overseen by Ken Ferree, chief of the FCC Media Bureau.

It's clear that the deregulation of radio has led to increased corporate profits at the expense of decreased programming variety and lack of local control. It would be a great tragedy if our other forms of media are left to the same fate.

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