Mikey Powell and Media Bureau chief William (“Ken”) Ferree, until this week top dogs at the FCC, have new gigs to fall into. Powell is heading to the Aspen Institute, a common transitional stop for former Chairmen. Ferree lands a phatter job: Chief Operating Officer at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ferree, architect of the (mostly failed) media ownership review, now making critical decisions on funding for public radio and TV. Sounds like a match made in heaven!
Mikey Powell’s giving up the ghost (don’t look back, buddy); Kathleen Abernathy may follow; and W. Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC’s Media Bureau, is also done. Also, Michael Copps’ term expires in the summer. It’s unusual to have such turnover in a short time. Can we expect substantive change in the agency’s direction?
Probably not. The replacements will not be reformists: they’re straight from the farm team that breeds regulators. These being three primary sources: campaign contributors, congressional staffers, and those already in administrative positions. All of the (speculative) candidates for a Commissioner’s post hail from one of these places. Congressional staff are an especially fertile ground, seeing as it sometimes seems easiest for the two major parties to agree on the appointment of folks already within the family, so to speak. Continue reading “Churn at the FCC”
It took only 90 minutes for the debate; calling the question took less than 15 seconds. And, as expected, the FCC voted along party lines (3-2) to significantly relax the rules restricting media ownership and consolidation, eliminating several of them completely. The agency’s news releases are full of sickening spin, but it does provide a decent overview of the new rules.
The biggest bonanzas appear to affect television ownership, where caps have been greatly relaxed, and cross-ownership of media outlets in all but a few large markets is now permitted. Mediageek’s Paul Riismandel has posted a more specific analysis of the changes to radio ownership rules.
Clear Channel might be stung by these changes but its freshly-endowed freedom to gobble up television stations and newspapers should more than compensate. The Big Ten must be having a collective orgasm over how much their empires will grow as a result of what happened today. Time to begin paying close attention to business news. Continue reading “The Deed is Done: FCC Lifts Most Media Ownership Restrictions”
Note: All audio is in 48kbps/44KHz mono MP3 format.
Speakers are listed in the order they appeared.
W. Kenneth Ferree – Chief, FCC Media Bureau (1:54, 673K)
Short and to the point, Ferree set up the charade by brandishing a logbook of some of the first radio licenses the FCC ever issued.
Notable quotes: Continue reading “FCC Adopts IBOC-DAB”