Genachowski agrees to delay ownership vote


Julius Genachowski
Noting that ownership diversity is a key goal of FCC ownership policy, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says he is in agreement with a proposal from advocacy MMTC to produce a new study on the effect of cross-ownership, open it up for comment and then put the proceeding to a commisioner vote.

“In this heavily-litigated area where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding,” he said.

Genachowski noted how the internet has dramatically changed the media business, but at the same time, many do not have easy access to the internet, and added that broadcast ownership rules could have an impact on those with inadequate internet access.

The proposal circulated to other commissioners would keep most local radio and TV ownership caps in place, along with prohibitions on controlling two major network stations in one market; would adopt measures to promote diversity and initiate studies of other measures; would ease formation of TV/newspaper combinations and allow radio/newspaper combinations.

He said that the study proposed by MMTC would take a direct look at these very issues.

Finally, Genachowski noted that a separate inquiry into increasing the level of allowable foreign investment in an FCC licenses beyond 25% was now under way (see separate story here.)

RBR-TVBR observation: And the never-ending story gets set to add yet another chapter. We say this without criticism and without picking sides, just because it’s true. Some of the issues being addressed in the current quadrennial review have been kicking around since Michael Powell’s dereg attempt kicked off in the Fall of 2002. Our kids were in preschool and just starting elementary school; now they’re thinking about entering high school and college.

To the very best of our knowledge, the current year is 2013, meaning that the 2010 Quadrennial Review – yes, that is the date of the current proceeding – is closer to bleeding into the 2014 review than it is to being done during the appropriate calendar year; and of course any hope of concluding it on deadline is quite impossible unless somebody produces a time machine.

Suffice it to say that a reporter assigned to cover the quadrennial review and nothing else could Rip Van Winkle the whole episode and not miss a thing.