MMTC: Diversity Impact Doesn't Justify Retaining Cross-Ownership Rule

Commenting on its own diversity study, the Minority Media and
Telecommunications Council told the FCC in comments on Tuesday that it should
use the study as one piece of evidence -- though not dispositive -- that the
newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership or other cross-ownership rules are not
"sufficiently material" to justify tightening or retaining the rules.

The FCC under chairman Julius Genachowski -- and Republican chairman
Kevin Martin before him -- hadproposed loosening the newspaper/TV cross-ownership rules and getting rid
of the radio/TV and radio/newspaper cross-ownership rules altogether.

The study did identify one market in which the three
respondents said cross-media interests had a competitive impact, so MMTC
provided this caveat about "singleton" stations, which are more
likely to be minority or women owned than other stations. "We recommend
that the Commission be alert to the possibility that a cross-media combination,
with strong newspaper, television and radio outlets in a medium (or small)
market, can have sufficient market power to operate as a material detriment to
minority and women ownership," MMTC said.

The FCC is collecting and vetting comments on
that study before it proceeds with deciding whether and how to modify its media
ownership rules.

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.