FCC Begins Manufacturing Consent for Ownership Rule Changes

There has been a lot of news since the last update; the Schnazz will get you up to speed on post-NAB conference coverage and the FCC’s latest moves to let the media industry get even more incestuous with itself. The Mosquito Fleet feature has also been properly fleshed out.
Lucky for us, the FCC now has a special section on its website devoted to the media ownership rule review now underway. There’s a lot of info there, but one area to examine further is a slew of “studies” the agency commissioned to examine the current media landscape. The studies look at everything from viewpoint diversity between media formats, to advertising rates, to radio formats, and loads more.
It should come as no surprise that the studies are heavily skewed toward economic analyses of the state of the media, with a few token perspectives thrown in from journalistic, cultural, and sociological perspectives. So much for the objective assessment of reality.
The sheer volume of the data – released all at once – almost seems designed to overwhelm critics of the proposal to relax ownership rules, putting them on the defensive to eat up time until the public comment window runs out early next year. It’s also reminiscent of the tactic used by the NAB in the LPFM rulemaking: winning the battle for policymakers’ minds by churning out the most documentation, regardless of its accuracy.
In this case, it’s the FCC itself trying to pre-convince us that further media consolidation is good. How bass-ackwards and inherently dangerous.
On the microradio front: Monk from Boulder Free Radio recently did an hour-long interview with Dade City Micro Radio about his involvement with the microradio movement. He relates some interesting tales about encounters with the FCC. It’s well worth a listen.
One of the extras I picked up in Seattle was a copy of a CD compilation archiving the broadcast of Y2WTKO, the microradio station that broadcast during the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. It’s an amazing disc showing real courage under fire.
LPFM applicants who are in competition with another group for a license need to check out the new LPFM-MAX online tool from the whiz-kids at REC Networks. It’s a great place to combine applicant information and design solutions for time-sharing or other resolutions to speed up the licensing process. If you can help the FCC’s licensing process along, they’d probably actually be grateful for it, and you’ll get on the air faster than if you just wait for action.