FCC to Launch Wide-Ranging NOI on Media Ownership Regs

Look for the FCC soon to launch a wide-ranging notice of
inquiry (NOI) on media ownership regulations.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski signaled as much in a Senate
Commerce Committee hearing Thursday (April 15), and sources confirm the
proposed inquiry is currently being vetted by the FCC commissioners.

The NOI is described as broad and extensive--a 35-page
document--that tees up different ways to measure ownership, including by
looking at how the FCC has dealt with diversity and competition and localism in
the past.

It also notes that there are separate localism, diversity
and future of journalism proceedings going on at the same time, said a source,
and instructs commenters in those proceedings that if they file in this
proceeding "make the connection to ownership structure."

The inquiry is part of the FCC's congressionally-mandated
quadrennial review of its ownership regulations. "At this point, it looks
like they have asked lots and lots of questions from lots and lots of
perspectives," said an FCC source who has read parts of the document.
"What I have read so far is reasonably neutral and balanced."

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.