At their joint press conference two weeks ago, Senators Lott and Dorgan stated that FCC Kevin Martin was "in for a fight" if he rushed to change existing media ownership rules without sufficient debate. Well, this Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on localism, diversity and media ownership. Call it the public weigh-in in advance of a possible showdown.
Here's the official description of the proceedings, which take place at 10 a.m. on November 8 in Room 253 of Senate Russell Building:
This hearing will focus on issues related to media consolidation, pending proposals to change the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules, and government efforts to promote localism and diversity the media marketplace.
Sounds about right. Today, the SCC announced its panel of witnesses, which are as follows:
Alex Nogales, President and CEO, National Hispanic Media Coalition
Jim Goodmon, President and CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
Frank A. Blethen, Publisher and CEO, The Seattle Times
John Lavine, Dean, Medill School, Northwestern University
We encourage you to attend the hearing, or at least watch it online.
On October 31, the FCC held a hearing on localism in Washington D.C. Despite the last-minute announcement of time and location, there was a fantastic turnout, with plenty of informed and impassioned discussion about the negative effects of consolidation.
The sixth (and final) hearing on media ownership is scheduled for Seattle on Friday. This time around, the public was given less than a week's notice to prepare. Kinda makes you wonder if Martin actually cares about citizen opinion, or if it's all just for show.
We're guessing Seattle-dwellers will turn up either way. As Lynn K. Varner puts it in today's Seattle Times Op-Ed:
This region ought to welcome the FCC to the Emerald City in proper Seattle fashion by flooding the e-mail inboxes of our congressional representatives, inviting every key person we know to Friday's hearing and, most of all, jamming the place with our bodies and voices.
Public Hearing on Media Ownership
4pm-11pm, Nov. 9 2007
Town Hall Seattle, Great Hall
1119 Eighth Avenue
Visit http://reclaimthemedia.org for more information.