On Friday, November 30th the following story was released, describing how the FCC bent over backwards in order to bypass it’s own rules regarding saturating/dominating local markets in order to please a corporate entity. The corporate entity in question is Newport Television LLC, which sought to buy up 35 Clear Channel stations. Well, now they can thanks to the “hard work” put in by the FCC that came up with this nifty idea: Rather than making the corporate entities actually follow the law and risk losing a financing option or two why not just provide them with waivers?
The sale of the 35 television stations will mean the new owner will be out of compliance with FCC rules that limit the number of stations one company may own in a single market. The market areas include Bakersfield, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Fresno and Monterey in California; Salt Lake City; Albany, New York; Jacksonville, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas.
So at a time when the FCC is supposed to be combating consolidation they reversed that policy in order to please a Corporate Entity. Could it have something to do with the fact that ClearChannel is based in San Antonio Texas and has close ties with the current administration? Could it have something to do with the GOP wanting to have more control over the information voters receive in certain markets? Could it be just another F U from the people supposedly looking out for our best interests?
Yes it sure could.
There is good news however as it turns out these waivers will not mean all that much. Local markets will be able to protest and bring lawsuits against the decision. This is where we can enter the field and make an impact. Research the story further, find out what local stations, if any, will be involved in the battle. Bring the story to the attention of local activists, local radio and most important, local lawyers that aren’t afraid to take on the big guys.
I’ll add more information in the comments below as I run across more stories on the issue.