Goodmon Reacts To Chairman Powell’s “Localism Initiative”

Goodmon Reacts To Chairman Powell’s “Localism Initiative”

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After FCC Chairman Michael Powell held a News Conference to announce his new “Localism Initiative,” CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon issued a reaction. In the Wednesday, August 20, 2003, conference Powell publicized the creation of a task force to study localism but did not address the issue of the FCC’s de-regulatory rules set to take effect in early September.

The following is Goodmon’s statement, released Thursday, August 21:

Chairman Powell announced today his decision to conduct an in-depth study of localism in broadcasting, including hearings around the country. Good idea, but it comes 18 months too late. With the new media ownership rules set to take effect in two weeks, a study now will not remove public and Congressional concern about his new ownership rules.

There is a certain arrogance in Chairman Powell’s presentation. He continually reminds us that he is an anti-trust lawyer and this is an economic issue. His “expert” agency has the facts and has ruled properly – end of story. He often remarks that those who disagree with him are “too emotional” and need to calm down. Calm down?

Chairman Powell claimed today that the ownership rules are not core to the localism issue. The June 2 action and the UHF discount loopholes would permit a single media giant to own at least one television station in every market in every state except California, and in 139 of those markets, the company could own 2 stations and in 4 markets, the company could own 3 stations. That is 346 stations in 199 markets. And that does not include radio, newspapers, and cable that the same media giant could own.

Localism? Diversity? Competition?

If Chairman Powell is interested in localism, he should issue a stay until a genuine effort is made to consider the total impact of all of the ownership rules and the relationship between ownership and localism. Do that Mr. Powell, and then we can all calm down!

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