The FCC is considering rule changes that would enable further media consolidation, but several new studies submitted to the regulatory body say limited media ownership has resulted in bland content and a power structure that favors white men.

San Francisco Chronicle:

FCC spokesman David Fiske said the studies and commentary would be “read and placed in the public record,” but declined to comment specifically on the findings of any of the studies from media watchdog, nonpartisan and interest groups. They submitted studies to meet Monday’s deadline for input on the proposed rule changes. The deadline for the public to respond to this first round of comments is Dec. 21.

The commission has set no timetable about when it will vote on any changes, Fiske said.

Over the next several months, however, the commission will ask the public what it thinks of several rules governing how many television and radio stations an entity can own in one market; the commission’s limitations on owning a full-service broadcast station and a newspaper in the same market; and its regulations on radio and television station cross-ownership. The commission will also ask the public whether it should retain its ban on mergers between the top four broadcast networks.

In 2003, the commission voted to make it easier for a single company to own a radio station, newspaper and TV station in the same region. In a rare bipartisan showing, both the House and the Senate voted to oppose the FCC’s decision, and hundreds of thousands of people contacted the commission to complain.



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