New reports on media consolidation for FCC filing deadline

Oct 27, 2006 4:31 am
Two groups released studies this week about media consolidation.

On Wednesday the Media and Democracy Coalition released a series of reports focusing on the economic effects of industry consolidation in twelve states. Not surprisingly they find that media consolidation is bad. The coalition includes groups such as Free Press, the Benton Foundation, the Alliance for Community Media and the Prometheus Radio Project. The report said, "The research finds that in every one of those states, most citizens already live in highly concentrated media markets with few choices for news and views. More media mergers in these highly concentrated markets will reduce already insufficient local news coverage and eliminate diverse voices and viewpoints and, in every case, exceed US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Merger Guidelines."

The Benton group and the Social Science Research Council released four other reports on the impact of media consolidation in the U.S. The reports said, "The studies focus on how the concentration of media ownership affect media content, from local news reporting to radio music programming and how minority groups have fared – as both media outlet owners and as historically-undeserved audiences -- in an increasingly deregulated media environment. These studies make clear that media consolidation does not correlate with better, more local or more diverse media content. To the contrary, they strongly suggest that media ownership rules should be tightened not relaxed."

From Mediageek: "The background to the release of all these reports is that initial public comments to the FCC on its media ownership proceeding [were due] Monday, Oct. 23. And, yet, the FCC has held only one of its promised six public hearings on the topic, and released zero of its own research reports that were promised."