Watchdog laments lack of watchdogs on FCC panels


The FCC’s dual broadcast finance discussions 1/12/10 looked at the capitalization problems facing broadcasters in both large and small markets, and provided a platform for calls for further deregulation. Free Press is complaining that nobody was there to represent the consumer point of view.

The deregulation panelists suggested concerned the provision for television duopolies in small markets and relaxation of cross-ownership restrictions. Most panelists agreed that there was no need for further radio dereg.

Free Press policy counsel Corie Wright said, “The vast majority of today’s panelists overlooked the critical point that media consolidation is the problem — not the answer — to the crisis in journalism and throughout the media industry. Industry representatives have been eager to point to further consolidation as the solution to the journalism crisis. But many of these companies have bought up too many properties and are slashing jobs while spending their money on debt collectors rather than newsgathering. We hope the FCC will be more inclusive of consumer and public interest advocates in all aspects of the media ownership proceeding — especially in financial discussions where industry execs have only their own interest to protect.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We understand Free Press’s complaint, and we admit, we too noticed the strict focus on industry representatives at this particular session. But we don’t think the watchdog community needs to worry too much – we suspect that this FCC will give them plenty of mic time before the Quadrennial Review is over.