Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

Michael Powell vs. Reality

The SJ Mercury News interviewed FCC chairman Michael Powell. Much of what he says here is very true, about new technologies and the shifts going on in wireline telecom. If he's telling the truth about how he feels about "big and venerable companies", I'm glad to hear it.

However, his comments on media ownership are almost entirely whacked, and show evidence that he's not a dumb guy, he's just owned by the major media corporations. I will agree that television (and only television) is a more dilute media than thirty to forty years ago, when the big three networks were really the only games in town. But in the time since, we've seen the rise of local independents, as well as their fall as they are bought up by media conglomerates and joined the three newest networks. Recent FCC ownership rule changes absolutely work to reverse the dilution trend.

When we turn to radio, the signs of ownership are even stronger. Radio has always been a dilute, locally-driven medium. While the big three networks had a major presence early on (which in the last twenty years has diminished significantly) there have always been major local independent players in every market. The growth of CBS-Infinity, Clear Channel, their component antecedents (even big media companies have been merging with each other) and their peers, and the damage it has caused to radio is apparent in all markets except for a very few of the largest.

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