In the Wake of Prometheus, Media Ownership Still Sucks

The following is a guest commentary by friend and colleague Dr. Christopher Terry, a Lecturer of Media Law and Policy in the Department of Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He spent more than 15 years as a producer in commercial radio. His dissertation examined more than 1000 FCC media ownership decisions between 1996-2010, and he has published quite a bit on media diversity, political advertising and of course, media ownership policy. Contact him via e-mail or Twitter

Today marks four years have since the 3rd Circuit handed down a second remand of the FCC’s media ownership policy in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC. I thought we might take the opportunity of this anniversary to discuss how radio got so bad.

On February 8th, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into the law the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Provisions within the Telecommunications Act implemented significant changes the legal, policy and social dynamics of media ownership. Although these changes could be felt across the media spectrum, the radio industry was fundamentally changed by the FCC’s implementation of the legislation. Read More

55 Days and Counting: Informative Events for LPFM Applicants

The Federal Communications Commission is busy preparing for an onslaught of applications for new low-power FM (LPFM) stations: the filing window opens on October 15th and closes on the 29th. Interested applicants should already be hard at work preparing, because building a radio station from scratch is not a simple process.

But there have been and will be some important info-dumps that can help demystify the issues. In chronological order: Read More

“Studying” the Implicatons of LPFM’s Expansion

As part of the compromises made to pass the Local Community Radio Act through Congress, a provision was inserted which requires the Federal Communications Commission to examine the “economic impact” LPFM stations have on full-power FM stations.

Comments on the proposed ground-rules of the “study” are due to the FCC in a month, and the study itself is supposed to be tendered to Congress early next year.

The FCC must probe two questions: what effects will an LPFM expansion have on the advertising revenue and audience-share of full-power radio stations?

On its face, the “study” is nothing more than a make-work exercise for the FCC, arguably designed to slow down the expansion of the LPFM service. Its primary questions are absurd – and pretty simply answered. Read More

Prometheus Radio Project Founder Moving On

Last week, the founder and Director of Electromagnetism of the Prometheus Radio Project, Pete Tridish, announced his departure from the organization.

Beginning from a background in unlicensed broadcasting based around the Philadelphia station Radio Mutiny, Pete was instrumental in not only organizing microbroadcasters in the lead-up to the FCC’s debate over LPFM more than 10 years ago, but he also worked tirelessly to convince Congress to pass the Local Community Radio Act late last year, which will expand the number of LPFM stations on the nation’s dial.

Apparently, his departure has been in the works for several months, but the announcement was held off so as to not detract from the LCRA advocacy campaign. Read More