Goodmon Appears on National Public Television Program
CBC President & CEO Speaks Out Against Media Consolidation
CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon appeared on the national PBS program NOW With Bill Moyers on an episode dedicated to the issue of media consolidation. The program aired locally on WUNC-TV, running for the first time at 2pm on Sunday, April 6, 2003.
NPR’s Rick Karr interviewed Goodmon for the program. Karr addressed the issue that the Federal Communications Commission hopes to meet in June to vote on lifting the 35% ownership cap for television. The National Television Ownership Rule, created in 1941, says a broadcast cannot own television stations that reach more than 35% of the nation’s homes. “
Corporations are buying up independent broadcasters,” said Goodmon. “And this is happening at the cost of local stations and journalists. I worry that local broadcasting will die.”
The conglomeration of media has already happened in radio. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 eliminated caps on the number of AM or FM broadcast stations, which may be owned or controlled by one entity nationally. The radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. For example, Clear Channel Communications now owns 1200 stations in all 50 states that reach more than 110 million listeners each week.
“CEO’s are compensated on stock prices,” said Goodmon. He went on to explain that caring about the community or local news are not the concerns of big media conglomerates. He stressed that the airwaves belong to the public, and that the broadcasters’ use of those airwaves means they have a responsibility to the public. The media should serve the public interest, he continued. For big media conglomerates “it’s not about helping communities, but about money for the big guys.”
“We want as many different voices as possible,” continued Goodmon. “If you have more owners, you have more points of views, more ideas, more opinions, different approaches to everything that’s going on. That to me is a given.”
Moyers and Karr pointed out that this issue has gotten no coverage by major networks and that about 72% of Americans have never heard that the FCC is considering changing this ruling.
FCC Commissioners Michael Copps & Jonathan Addelstein recently held a public hearing about the issue in Durham, NC. Goodmon participated on one panel in the hearing. FCC Chairman Michael Powell and his two other Republican colleagues on the five-member Commission have not acknowledged the independent hearings Copps has held across the country.
The April 6th edition of NOW With Bill Moyers also addressed the reporting on the war in Iraq through a discussion with Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher. Moyers also interviewed author Susan Sontag.