McDowell attacks reporting regimen


FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell remembers when his home received "four main channels" on television. Now there are hundreds, and numerous other media competitors vying for the time of US citizens. "So why are policymakers like us at the FCC dusting off decades-old regulations to impose on broadcasters? Why are we considering placing these proverbial albatrosses around the necks of traditional media precisely at the ‘tipping point’ in history when they can least afford a regulatory disadvantage vis-a-vis unregulated platforms like the internet?"

Commenting on government meddling into programming decisions, McDowell noted, "The potential Orwellian implications of such policies are chilling."

"At the end of the day," he concluded, "we must keep in mind that we live in an exciting, market-driven, on-demand world that empowers all of us as consumers. AS technologies and consumer habits continue to evolve, we should proceed with a healthy skepticism of regulation. Simply put, the government cannot outsmart an unfettered and competitive market."

RBR/TVBR observation: The broadcast stations that are going to win the ratings wars and compete best against media with a national platform — which include most options served up over cable, satellite or the internet — are going to be the ones that do the best job of superserving their local community. Localism is the single most potent weapon in a great broadcaster’s arsenal. No rule, regulation or filled-out form is necessary to enforce this eternal truth.