Magazine

Table: Media Owners Unbound


Hearings are under way to air possible changes in the FCC's restrictions on media companies. Here's what the FCC might consider, and what the critics say:

TV STATIONS

THE IDEA Lift the cap prohibiting a company from owning TV stations that reach over 35% of U.S. TV homes

CRITIQUE: Giants such as Viacom and Disney would have too much power over too many media markets

CABLE SYSTEMS

THE IDEA Allow a cable company to own systems that serve over 30% of the nation's pay-TV subscribers

CRITIQUE: A single operator would wield enormous clout over what channels get carried and what position the channels get

CABLE/BROADCAST OWNERSHIP

THE IDEA Allow a company to own both a broadcast network and a cable operator

CRITIQUE: Would give too much control over content and distribution to a single entity, which could impose a single viewpoint

NEWSPAPER/TV/RADIO OWNERSHIP

THE IDEA Permit a newspaper company to own TV and radio stations in the same market where it publishes

CRITIQUE: Independent voices in cities could be snuffed out by consolidated ownership of news outlets

SAME-MARKET TV OWNERSHIP

THE IDEA Allow a company to own two TV stations in the same market with no restrictions

CRITIQUE: Would result in too few voices in the medium that most people use to get their news

RADIO OWNERSHIP

THE IDEA Permit a company to own more than eight radio stations in a market

CRITIQUE: A giant such as Clear Channel, which already dominates the medium, could become even more powerful


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