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FCC Localism Hearings Set

The Federal Communications Commission Friday announced the locations and general times of the six public hearings planned by its Localism Task Force.

The task force was established by FCC chairman Michael Powell to study "the efficacy of the FCC’s localism-related rules," then report to the agency on what rules it might need to add or strengthen and on what legislative remedies it might need to recommend to Congress.

Powell has expressed concerns about whether the commission’s rules promote localism, and he has suggested that the task-force initiative, rather than his revised national media-ownership rules, is the better venue to address those and other concerns about localism and diversity.

The first hearing will be held at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 22. The other five are: San Antonio in December; Santa Cruz/Salinas, Calif., in March; Rapid City, S.D., in April; Portland, Maine, in May; and Washington, D.C., in June.

The FCC said each will be chaired by at least one commissioner.

As announced earlier this past week, one of the goals of the hearings will be to educate viewers about the broadcast-license-renewal process. Radio renewals have just begun, while TV renewals begin one year from now.

The commission has established a filing number (RM-10803) for any parties that wish to comment on the task force via the FCC’s electronic comment-filing system or otherwise.