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FCC Grants Short Extension of Ownership Study Comment Deadline

The FCC has given the public a few more weeks to comment on ten media ownership studies it released July 31 that were generally supportive of deregulation.

The deadline for comment had been Oct. 1, and for reply comments Oct. 16. It is now Oct. Oct. 22 and Nov. 1. respectively.

Free Press, Consumer Federation of America and other anti-media consolidation groups highly critical of the studies had filed on Sept. 11 for a 90-day extension beyond the date on which the FCC made the studies' underlying data available for public scrutiny.

The FCC made data available Sept. 6, although in the Sept. 11 filing for the extension, those groups said they were still unsure that all the relevant data was available so had asked for the 90 days, to start only after they wer sure they had all the data with which to test and reproduce the results.

Some Hill Democrats critical of the studies had also pushed for more comment time.

But the FCC said it agreed with the comments of broadcaster Media General that the years-long media ownership review should not be "unduly delayed" any further and that only a short extension was warranted.

The FCC said that, instead, a short extension was warranted.

"They took away 50 of the 60 days they originally gave us by failing to make all the data available in a timely fashion," said CFA's Dr. Mark Cooper. "Then they gave us back 20 days for comment, but took back seven for replies. They have simply not provided adequate time to analyze these very complex data sets and statistical models."