FCC Commissioner Visits WRAL-TV

WRAL-TV logo FCC Commissioner Visits WRAL-TV
CBC’s Goodmon Participates in FCC Hearing

“It’s an exercise of democracy to hold hearings and listen to public comment.”–FCC Commissioner Michael Copps

While in town for a Public Hearing on Media Concentration, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps stopped by WRAL-TV for a tour of its state of the art digital news facility and a demonstration of the local uses and benefits of digital television. After a morning at WRAL-TV, Copps traveled to Durham for the FCC hearing at which CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon participated as a panelist.

Jim Goodmon & FCC Commissioner Michael Copps
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps (r) got a briefing on CBC’s use of digital television from President & CEO Jim Goodmon.

Copps received a first-hand demonstration of WRAL-TV’s digital television procedures, including the 24-hour WRAL NewsChannel and the digital information pipeline of DTV Plus.

The afternoon hearing took place at Duke Law School in Durham. Run and set up by Copps, the hearing consisted of three panels “Localism and Community Standards,” ” News,” and “Diversity.” As a whole the panels addressed the issue of the FCC’s review of rules that seek to protect localism, competition and diversity in the media. Currently FCC rules limit a single corporation from dominating local TV markets; from merging a community’s TV stations, radio stations, and newspaper; from merging two of the major TV networks; and from controlling more than 35% of all TV households in the nation.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein joined his colleague in speaking at the event, along with North Carolina Representatives to the US Congress, Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. David Price (D-NC). Goodmon spoke along with three other North Carolina broadcasting leaders in the first group, which addressed localism.

“I believe every American is a stakeholder,” said Copps. “The FCC has a duty to satisfy the court of public opinion.” He told the group that with the hearing he had two goals, to hear voices outside of the Washington, DC beltline, and to “raise awareness in NC and the surrounding areas that something important is going on at the FCC.”

Both Congressmen echoed Copps’ thoughts, Price saying, “local shouldn’t merely be a conduit for national information,” and Burr adding, “localism is the essence of the US broadcast system.”

Given several minutes to speak, Goodmon said, “Localism and community standards are under fire. We need to retain the ownership cap and revise rules about how stations are counted towards that cap…Consolidation has already hurt us…The more consolidation there is, the harder for us [local broadcasters].”

Goodmon called for having as many different owners as possible in order for more small broadcasters to survive and for the public to have more choices. He stated that merely having 200+ cable or satellite channels from which to choose does not equal diversity. “There is no adequate substitute for local broadcast stations. No number of cable and satellite channels can make up for that.”

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