CONGRESS WRANGLES OVER UPCOMING FCC VOTE
Legislation Proposed to Block Some Media Ownership Rule Changes
FCC CHIEF DENIES DELAY ON CONSOLIDATION VOTE
Commissioners Must Review New Media Rules by June 2
NEW FCC RULES MAY REQUIRE SOME DIVESTITURES
New Rules Don't Favor More Consolidations in Some Radio Markets
SENATORS WARN AGAINST LOOSENING MEDIA OWNERSHIP
FCC Rules Changes to Be Voted on June 2
FCC CHIEF: MEDIA CONSOLIDATION SERVES PUBLIC
Says Assumptions to the Contrary Are 'Simply False'
MEDIA CONSOLIDATION FOES LOCK HORNS AT FCC HEARING
Consumer Group Rails at 'Raw Sewage' Programming; Network Exec Bemoans Restrictions
OPPONENTS READY MEDIA CONSOLIDATION ARGUMENTS
FCC Formal Hearings to Open in Richmond
4A'S WON'T FILE FCC COMMENT ON MEDIA CONSOLIDATION
Diverse Membership Opinions Prevent Ad Group From Taking a Position
NATPE AND GUEST SPEAKER CLASH ON DEREGULATION
Congressman Likens Media Consolidation to Free Speech
SENATE QUESTIONS FCC MEDIA OWNERSHIP REVIEW
FCC Chairman Says Current Rules Aren't Coherent
GROUP CHALLENGES NETWORKS' PROGRAMMING CONTROL
Legal Action by New Alliance Demands Use of Independent Production Companies
FCC TO REVIEW ALL CROSS-MEDIA OWNERSHIP RULES
Integrated Approach Throws Everything in the Air
WILL TV STATION CONSOLIDATION RAISE AD PRICES?
Media Buyers Fear One Voice Will Set Rates for Different Outlets
COURT CHALLENGES FCC ON 'DUOPOLY' RESTRICTIONS
Rules Limit Same-Company Ownership of TV Stations
The 3-2 party line vote approved changes that are expected to dramatically alter the media landscape. Republicans said the changes were needed to bring rules up to date; Democrats warned the changes would significantly impact democratic dialogue.
Immediately after the vote several senators said they would try to block the rules from taking effect. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., joining U.S. Sens. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., said he might try a rarely used procedure of a "legislative veto" to void the rule.
Under the new rules in the nation's six largest markets, a single company could for the first time own three TV stations, eight radio stations and a newspaper, and in medium-sized markets companies could own a newspaper, up to two TV stations and as many as six to eight radio stations. They could also own the local cable system.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell, a Republican, called the changes "modest albeit very significant changes."
Commissioner Michael J. Copps, a Democrat, said the change "empowers America's new media elite with unacceptable levels of influence over the media on which our society and our democracy so heavily depend."
Mr. Copps called the vote "radical deregulation" and said it "surrenders to a handful of corporations awesome powers over our news, information and entertainment."
Degrade civil discourse
Jonathan Adelman, a second Democratic commissioner, said the decision would "damage the media landscape for generations. It threatens to degrade civil discourse and the quality of our society's cultural and political life."
Republican commissioners, however, accused the Democrats of overplaying the changes. Mr. Powell said changes were needed to comply with court rulings and the FCC has promulgated rules that "match the times."
'Vulcan mind meld'
Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy said federal courts had told the commission to base its rules on facts, "not on fear and speculation about hypothetical monopolies intent on exercising some type of Vulcan mind meld over the American people" or a fear of "a mythical media monopoly that will descend upon our media landscape."
She said the decision preserves balance while reflecting the changes in the media marketplace.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Dorgan said the decision "stands logic on its head" and he called it "dumb and dangerous." It's a decision that says "We favor concentration over competition. ... We don't care anything about diversity or localism. It's a decision that ignores the fact the American public owns the airwaves, not broadcasting companies."