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FCC To Weigh In On Localism

An FCC source says the FCC is preparing to release the results of its inquiry into broadcast localism.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell announced the NOI (Notice of Inquiry) last August to help separate issues such as "voice tracking" of distant radio DJs into local markets and centralcasting of TV news across multiple markets, from the June 2 rule rewrite he was trying to push through. Ownership rules are a "clumsy" and indirect way to address the public's complaints about media behavior, he said at the time. "Why take a three-cushion shot on the pool table rather than a shot right at the hole?"Among the issues the FCC was exploring were making owners demonstrate more clearly how they've served the public interest when licenses are renewed or limiting broadcast networks' power over affiliate programmingIf, as critics argued, the NOI was simply an attempt to blunt efforts to derail the new ownership rules, it didn't work. The  rules were challenged, stayed by the courts, disapproved of in a "sense of the Senate" condemnation and Tuesday were permanently thrown out by the Senate, but only if an amendment to a DOD authorization bill survives intact, which is unlikely.