The FCC did its ten-study data dump on media ownership 7/31/07 and immediately asked for public comment by 10/1/07, with reply comments due two weeks thereafter. A coalition of interested watchdogs, including Free Press, Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Union said formally on 9/11/07 that the FCC did not give them enough time to fully comment, on grounds that between them the studies contained "thousand to millions if data points and methodological decisions." They wanted 90 more days to study and prepare comments. They were more or less echoed by the United Church of Christ, the National Organization of Women, Common Cause and the Benton Foundation. The request for more time was countered by Media General, which wants to avoid any undue delay in moving ahead with the ownership proceeding. The FCC said it basically agreed with Media General, but decided a brief extension would be in the public interest and gave the watchdogs another three weeks. The new deadlines are 10/22/07 for comments and 11/1/07 for reply comments.
RBR observation: Does anybody really think the ownership proceeding will turn on the contents of the ten studies? Those who oppose further consolidation will oppose it regardless and those who think some or all of the rules should be loosened will think that regardless. This is basically a side show. The real questions about the remanded rules are what Kevin Martin thinks he can get past the court, if he can do it fast enough to beat the 2008 election, and whether Congress will sit still for whatever it is. Stay tuned.