Free Press: Diversity Study Useless As Policy Guide

Media consolidation foe Free Press is no fan of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council diversity study.

The FCC delayed action on any media ownership rules until MMTC could complete, and the public could comment on, the study of the impact of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule on media diversity.

The conclusion of the BIA/Kelsey study: "The impact of cross-media ownership on minority and women broadcast ownership is probably negligible."

Free Press's conclusion, according its public comment: The study is filled with "glaring" problems that make it "utterly useless" as a basis for making policy.

Free Press uses its filing to detail those flaws, which it says include inadequately describing its sample, not separating out TV and radio station owners or distinguishing between impacts on women from those on minorities and not providing details on the claimed peer reviews, among other alleged failings.

FCC acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn indicated to B&C last week that the FCC intends to "carefully review the MMTC study, as well as any comments submitted in response to the Public Notice," before moving forward with its review.

"I don't know what study they reviewed," said MMTC President David Honig. "It couldn't have been the study we submitted."

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.