Sunday, January 13, 2013

FCC rules

Are Current TV's Slots on Cable Distribution Worth $500 Million?

For some reason no one appears to be asking this obvious question in the context of Al Jazeera's purchase of the Current TV station. According to the news reports, Al Jazeera does not intend to keep much, if any, of Current TV's programming. That means it is willing to pay $500 million simply to be carried by the large cable providers. That implies that these providers have extraordinary market power. This should be raising lots of questions at the Federal Communications Commission.

Yes, Cable Access is Too Cheap
written by Robert Salzberg, January 04, 2013 8:26
Activists for years have been saying that the rights to our airways are being sold way too cheaply by the U.S. government.

If this deal doesn't prove their point, what will?

We should be getting billions more in tax revenue from the telecommunications industry. The idea that they are providing a public service to compensate for the low rents they're paying is absurd in almost every case. (PBS being an exception along with other public access channels.)

Dear Friend,
Rupert Murdoch, the guy who controls the Fox News Channel, wants to expand his empire, and he's not letting FCC regulations get in his way.
Embattled and under investigation in England for phone hacking, influence peddling and bribery, Murdoch has set his sights set on the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, the major papers in the nation's second and third-largest cities, where Murdoch already owns several TV stations.1
Shockingly, President Obama's Federal Communications Commission is trying to change the rules so Murdoch can get exactly what he wants. Even worse, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is hoping the agency can pass these changes without you noticing.
That's why we're joining our allies at Free Press and calling on the FCC to stop trying to change the rules for Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch's media grab would be illegal under the current rules. But Chairman Genachowski is pushing the other commissioners for changes that would translate into a giveaway for Murdoch and other media barons.2
These rule changes wouldn't just benefit Murdoch. If the FCC changes the rules, one company could own the major daily newspaper, two TV stations, and up to eight radio stations in your town. And that one company could be your Internet provider, too.
Sound familiar? It should — the FCC is pushing the same Bush-era media consolidation policy that millions rallied against in 2003, and 2007, and was defeated in court just two years ago. The Senate even voted to overturn this consolidation policy back in 2008, rebuking runaway media concentration led by, among others, then-Senator Barack Obama.3
Chairman Genachowski wants to ram these rules through without holding a single public hearing attended by all five FCC commissioners. He does doesn't even want to hold the vote in public.
These changes signal an astounding apathy toward diversity in media, which will result in fewer women and people of color on the airwaves. And with less independent and critical journalism we need to prevent abuses of power, we're at risk of more government and corporate corruption that goes unreported.4
The FCC could act at any time to demolish the rules that stop Murdoch's power grab, so we have to act now to stop the FCC from taking this perilous step.
Please speak out now and tell FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski: No more media consolidation for Murdoch. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for standing up against Rupert Murdoch and holding the FCC accountable.
Jordan Krueger, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Ronald Grover, "Murdoch Eyes L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune," Chicago Tribune, 10/20/2012. 
2. John Eggerton, "FCC Proposes Loosening TV/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Ban ... Again." Broadcast & Cable, 11/14/2012. 
3. [PDF] "A Change for the Worse." 
4. John Eggerton, "FCC Report Shows Little Net Improvement in Ownership Diversity." Broadcast & Cable, 11/14/2012.

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