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Benton Wants Better Broadcast Info

Communications think tank The Benton Foundation is recommending that individuals and communities petition the Federal Communications Commission to require broadcast stations to provide more information in their public files and to make that information more user-friendly and available online.

In a policy briefing e-mail, the foundation cites Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein's McDonaldization" metaphor for the consolidated American media, arguing instead that the media should provide a more balanced diet and diverse menu.

Extending that metaphor, the foundation says: "Thanks to food labeling requirements, we can track the nutritional value of the foods we eat and ensure that we can get nutritional information presented in distinctive, easy-to-read formats using uniform definitions. In an age in which we spend more time consuming TV than almost anything else," says the foundation, "shouldn't viewers have the right to similar information?"

An FCC decision on disclosure changes could come as early as next month, Benton says.