During the FCC’s mostly-failed media ownership revision-quest of 2003, the agency cooked up a bunch of “research” to justify trying to let big media grow even bigger. However, one report with real integrity never made it out the door.
The agency’s Media Bureau studied local television news coverage, and tallied up the amount of actual local news stations produced, and correlated that to station ownership. It turns out that locally-owned stations produce as much as 33 hours more local news per year than stations owned by chains or networks. The study also concluded that cross-ownership – the ownership of a TV station and/or newspaper and/or radio by one company in a single market – did nothing to enhance a TV station’s local news coverage. In fact, cross-owned properties more often than not produce less local news.
Kevin Martin was smacked on the head with this at his Senate reconfirmation hearing Tuesday, and he says he’s looking into it. The trouble is, he’s just a smarter version of Mikey Powell. The FCC’s new attempt at relaxing the ownership rules is underway; the first round of public comments are due next week.