The echoes from the last speaker at the FCC forum on localism in Washington had just barely died away, and already the Senate Commerce Committee is ready to go over that territory again. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) had requested such a hearing at the recent hearing on the future of radio, and Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has wasted no time in granting that wish. The session is scheduled for Thursday, 11/8/07, and is being called "Localism, Diversity and Media Ownership." No witnesses have yet been named.
RBR/TVBR observation: As of now, there are only about six weeks to go before FCC Chairman’s target date to have a vote on media ownership rules. In between now and then, we have a Senate hearing, there’s going to be a public forum on the topic in Washington State (see below), and the rules are supposedly going to be revealed in advance to the general public for comment, or more likely, loud and vocal protest. That’s a lot of activity to cram into six weeks. And even if Martin gets his vote in 12/18/07, no matter how modest his changes (if any), there may be a rapid, equal and opposite action from Capitol Hill. Stay tuned.