MMP, Prometheus Want Third Circuit Rules Review


By Adam R Jacobson

There’s something about the Third Circuit that makes a review of the FCC‘s media cross-ownership rules a bit more meaningful for two grassroots broadcaster advocacy groups.

Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project, “along with several trade associations,” on Friday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to transfer their challenge of the Commission’s media ownership order to that jurisdiction.

The two entities have similar missions to make broadcast ownership rules even more restrictive than the 41-year-old ban of a newspaper company owning a broadcast property in the same market. The rules also limit ownership to two TV stations in a DMA.

They argue that the Third Circuit’s experience in hearing similar challenges to the media cross-ownership ban makes it logical for this court to hear the Prometheus/MMP case.

The mission of the Philadelphia-based Media Mobilizing Project is to use “strategic media, arts and communications to intervene in critical human rights struggles from public education to healthcare, media reform and public services.”

Prometheus has been a vocal advocate of “freeing the airwaves from corporate control” and “builds participatory radio for social justice organizing and community expression.” It is a leading advocate for low-power radio stations.

Prometheus has been a thorn in the side of the FCC since 2003, and boasts that the landmark 2004 Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC ruling was a watershed moment for diversity of the nation’s airwaves that prevented further media consolidation and led to the resignation of then-FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

Thus, Prometheus and NAB make for strange bedfellows in their representative fights against the 1975 media cross-ownership rules. Both want the current rules abolished. But, the NAB advocates for more Powell-like legislation. Prometheus would be perfectly happy if community groups owned every commercially licensed broadcaster in the U.S.

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