A number of public interest groups are concerned that the FCC’s report plan to loosen cross-ownership restrictions will also weaken minority broadcast ownership levels. David Honig of MMTC is proposing a brief comment period to address the issue.
Although MMTC has stated that it has no particular problem with easing cross-ownership barriers and in fact supports anything that might help nurse the newspaper industry back to health, it remains keenly interested in promoting diversity of ownership and has not been satisfied with FCC efforts on this count to date.
Honig believes making sure that diversity is part of the current deliberation would be a worthwhile project. He said, “Several parties in this proceeding have encouraged the Commission to grant additional time to consider the impact of some of the Commission’s proposals on minority ownership. I believe that thirty additional days for the parties to file comments on that issue and others would be beneficial; for example, a twenty-day lightning round of comments with ten days for reply comments. Certainly, the opportunity to improve the record on the relationship between structural rules and minority ownership, on the definition of an eligible entity, on the many specific pending proposals aimed at advancing minority ownership, and on the research needed to ensure that decisions made in this area are well supported and wise would be desirable.”