FCC direction becomes apparent


Chairman Kevin Martin will preside over an FCC Open Meeting heavily laden with broadcast items today. At least, that’s what the schedule says. He’s been known to slam on the brakes when he’s unsure a vote is going to go the way he would like. The FCC plans to take a look at the court-remanded media ownership proceeding, affectionately referred to as the 2006 Quadrennial Review. This proceeding covers a lot of territory, but the 800-pound gorilla, Martin’s proposed elimination of cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 markets, is expected to be brought up for a vote, if at all, at the December 18 meeting, providing about a month for public comment. Also on the agenda: A look at LPFM; public interest standards for television stations; the competition in the delivery of video programming; the state of competition in the market for video programming; a look at leased commercial access for video programmers, development of competition and diversity in video programming distribution and carriage. The meeting is scheduled to kick off at 9:30 AM.

RBR/TVBR observation: As we noted, it is unlikely that the cross-ownership proposal will receive anything more than discussion today. The parties looking to the meeting with a sense of anticipation seem to be the watchdog community, which hopes to make gains in opening broadcast and cable to minority, female, small and otherwise socially-disadvantaged businesses.