FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is reported to have rule changes on the fast-track that would allow broadcast-newspaper crossownership in the 20 largest markets and further radio consolidation as well — but public watchdog groups opposed to further media consolidation are girding for battle.
If the FCC passes the rule changes without any public hearings — and this could happen before the end of the year — Free Press President-CEO Craig Aaron vows that his group will sue the commission yet again. His view that the FCC is acting in haste without allowing for public input was echoed repeatedly in a telephone press conference today by Free Press and six other organizations.
“Who owns and shapes the media is one of the most important questions facing our nation today. And on this issue the FCC is failing to carry out its responsibilities,” said Wade Henderson, president-CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. He and others on the call insisted that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was clear that the FCC must evaluate the impact on minority and female ownership before making any rule changes — and that the commission has not done so.