The Senate Antitrust Subcommittee's top Democrat joined the Capitol Hill
crowd voicing worries about the pending Univision/Hispanic Broadcasting merger's
impact on Spanish language media in the U.S.
"I have serious concerns with the competitive implications of this
transaction," declared Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., in a letter to Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell.
The FCC is conducting a review of the merger and a decision is expected soon.
Kohl noted that the combined company would reach more than 80% of the
Hispanic broadcast audience.
When publishing, cable TV and Internet portal are included, the merged
company would control as much as 70% of Spanish language media in the country's
10 largest Hispanic markets, he said.
Kohl urged Powell to investigate whether Spanish language media should be
considered a separate market from English media.
Kohl said the inquiry should include an examination of whether sufficient
alternatives exist for Spanish language speakers in the television and radio
media, including whether newspapers, and other news sources such as internet
sites, provide sufficient alternative news sources, and to what extent the
Hispanic audience utilizes non-Spanish language media for its news and
Declaration that Spanish media is a separate market would hinder chances for
the merger approval because of the would-be company's combined reach among
Several Democrats in Congress, including Massachusetts' Sen. Edward M.
Kennedy and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have urged Powell to delay
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez has criticized the merger, as
have members of the House Hispanic Caucus.
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