Do_Media_Ownership_Limits_Make_Sense_[1]

Do_Media_Ownership_Limits_Make_Sense_[1] - FCC Asks: Do...

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FCC Asks: Do Media Ownership Limits Make Sense? As industry struggles, Federal Communications Commission studies media ownership limits By JOELLE TESSLER The Associated Press WASHINGTON Even the news industry's free fall probably will not be enough to wipe out complicated federal rules designed to restrain the power of media companies. For decades, the Federal Communications Commission has imposed strict limits preventing any company from controlling too many media properties in the same market. These limits were established to ensure that communities have choices of newspapers and local TV and radio stations. Congress requires the FCC to take a hard look at the rules every four years to determine whether they still serve the public interest. If they don't, the FCC has to rewrite them. Now, as the FCC kicks off its latest review, it faces calls to pare the limits because traditional media companies are no longer the almighty players that they were when the ownership rules were f rst enacted. Newspaper readers and advertisers have migrated to the Internet, where a lot of content is free and advertising costs less. As a result, newsrooms have shrunk and newspapers have sought bankruptcy protection or shut down. Television broadcasters are suffering too as cable, satellite TV and the Internet splinter audiences and siphon ad dollars — forcing stations to seek new revenue streams and even raising questions about the future of free, over-the-air TV. Against this backdrop, media companies argue that the FCC's ownership limits no longer make sense and should be relaxed, or even scrapped, so that the companies can get bigger in order to better compete and survive. "These rules need to fall away," says Jerry Fritz, general counsel for Allbritton Communications, an Arlington, Va., company that owns eight TV stations in seven markets, a cable station in Washington, D.C., and Politico, a successful online and print publication that covers politics. Allbritton is also launching a local news website to cover the Washington region. "The FCC rules make no sense FCC Asks: Do Media Ownership Limits Make Sense? http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=10965096 1 of 4 9/23/10 2:00 PM
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anymore," Fritz says. But the FCC is unlikely to toss out media ownership restrictions entirely. The agency is also under
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Do_Media_Ownership_Limits_Make_Sense_[1] - FCC Asks: Do...

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