Dan Rather to Testify at Hill Hearing on Minority Ownership

The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Wednesday (Dec. 12) at 2 p.m. on media consolidation and former CBS anchor Dan Rather is leading the witness list.

The hearing will focus on the impact of media consolidation on localism and diversity. The list includes Rather, now anchor and managing editor of Dan Rather Reports on HDNet; Adam Thierer from the Center for Digital Media Freedom, Progress and Freedom Foundation; radio talk-how host Joe Madison; Carol Jenkins of the Women's Media Center; David Honig, executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; and S. Derek Turner, head of research for Free Press.

That hearing comes one day before the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hear from Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin and the other commissioners about media-ownership issues at an FCC oversight hearing.

The hearings were called after Martin made it clear that he wanted to vote on loosening the ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership at a Dec. 18 public FCC meeting, and that along with proposals to address diversity and a report on localism that would also be voted, that would essentially close the 18-month review of media-ownership rules.

Hill Democrats have asked him to slow down, as well as to conclude separate inquiries into localism and diversity before taking any action on revising the rules -- even a revision Martin argued is limited and conservative. For instance, it does not allow for more multiple radio or station ownership in smaller markets.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.