Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are You Ready For The NBC Times? How about the Fox Wall Street Journal?

In an op-ed in The New York Times, FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said something that astounded me in an age of media conglomeration:

"The commission should modify only one of the four rules under review — the one that bars ownership of both a newspaper and a broadcast TV or radio station in a single market. And the rule should be modified only for the largest markets."

Whoa whoa whoa -- wait just a second. Newspapers, in all of their spiraling circulation woes, should use broadcast outlets as band-aids? Tell 'em, Martin:

"This relatively minor loosening of the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and TV stations in markets where there are many voices and sufficient competition to allow for new entrants would help strike a balance between ensuring the quality of local news while guarding against too much concentration.

The cross-ownership rule is the only media ownership rule that has never been modified since its inception in the mid-1970s. For the last decade, F.C.C. chairmen — Democrats and Republicans alike — have said this rule needs to be revised."

I don't know about you, but this doesn't seem like a long-term solution, and smells awfully fishy. On the other hand, let's think logically -- with media corporations diversifying (read: NBC websites competing with local rags for breaking news and competing content, like text and video), I'm not all that sure this wouldn't happen anyway, given enough time.

So should we be expecting a CBS-influenced Columbia Post, for example? No, Martin says -- but I don't believe him.

No comments: