FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 3, 2006
CONTACT: Free Press
Craig Aaron at 202-441-9983 (in Los Angeles on Tuesday) or Jen Howard at 202-265-1490, x 22. Or visit www.stopbigmedia.com/=lahearing
FCC Faces Public at First Official Hearing on Media Consolidation
SAN FRANCISCO - October 3 - A broad-based coalition of local and national groups is urging the public to turn out for the Federal Communications Commission's first hearing on sweeping changes to the nation's ownership rules.
The FCC public hearing will take place in two parts at two separate locations on Tuesday, October 3:
1 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.
University of Southern California
Davidson Conference Center
3415 South Figueroa Street
6:30 p.m. — 10 p.m.
El Segundo High School
640 Main Street
All five FCC Commissioners are expected to attend the hearings. Both events will feature an "open microphone" session for the public to offer testimony on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit www.stopbigmedia.com/=lahearing
The following people have commented on the event:
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
"Within the media industry, too few own too much, at the expense of too many," said Reverend Jackson, who will offer public testimony at the hearing at USC. "If it is true that information is power, than the power should be in the voices of the people."
Rep. Diane E. Watson
"The latest round of public hearings on media ownership, scheduled to begin next week in my Los Angeles congressional district, represents the FCC's newest effort to deregulate and consolidate our nation's media," said Congresswoman Watson, who will be available for interviews after she delivers her remarks at USC. "The American public must remain vigilant in order to successfully turn back this new bid at media consolidation that will further erode diversity in ownership and programming and undermine our First Amendment rights."
Rep. Maxine Waters
"Any public policy seeking to protect diversity in the media must recognize the simple fact that ownership matters," said Congresswoman Waters, who will be available for interviews. "Media consolidation has already led to declines in local and minority ownership as well as the homogenization of content in radio and television. Permitting cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations, or allowing further concentration in local television markets, will only worsen the problems we already have."
Thomas F. Lee, President, American Federation of Musicians
"The growing trend of media consolidation has resulted in fewer opportunities for local artists to be played in their markets," Lee said. "The fact that most of the media is controlled by large media conglomerates results in play list homogenization and in fewer opportunities for local artists to be on the air. Media consolidation results in less diversity of artists and content on the air. Radio stations across America have become more generic and radio is deprived of its local flavor."
Willis Edwards, National Board Member, NAACP
"Media ownership is a civil rights issue," said Willis Edwards, first vice president of the NAACP Hollywood branch. "Before even considering greater media consolidation, the FCC needs to address the troubling state of minority media ownership. Here in L.A. — there's not a single television station owned by African-Americans. That's the kind of issue that this hearing should be addressing."
James C. Joyce, Vice President, NABET-CWA
"Los Angeles is a poster child for media concentration," said Joyce, a speaker at the El Segundo event whose union represents 10,000 workers at local and network TV and radio stations. "Our members know what happens when one company owns more than one TV station or a major TV station and the monopoly newspaper in the same market. The owner merges operations, slashes jobs, and reduces the quantity and quality of the news."
Marty Kaplan, USC Annenberg School for Communication
"Are local issues covered on local TV — or are they ignored? The FCC's policy is don't ask and don't tell," said Kaplan, associate dean of the school and director of the Norman Lear Center. "Are diverse voices being heard on local news? Don't ask, and don't tell. How much local news truly is news? Don't ask, and don't tell. What kinds of owners provide what kind of quality? Don't ask, and don't tell."
Sydney Levy, Program Director, Media Alliance
"The consolidation of the media has brought less diversity, less local programming, fewer viewpoints, fewer jobs, and lower salaries," said Levy, who will testify on a panel at the El Segundo event. "At Media Alliance, we represent thousands of Californians who are saying enough is enough."
Mark Cooper, Research Director, Consumer Federation of America
"In the 2003 Media Ownership proceeding, the FCC ignored the voice of the people and the weight of the evidence, both of which declared loudly and clearly that further consolidation of the media is not in the public interest," said Cooper, who will also be on a panel at the El Segundo hearing. "We can only hope that the FCC pays more attention this time. If it does not, I am certain it will suffer another ignominious defeat in public opinion and the courts."
Davey D, Co-Host, Hard Knock Radio, KPFA-FM
"In this age of information technology, there's a concerted effort by Big Media corporations to not only control but outright shut down the flow of information," said Davey D, a longtime Bay Area DJ who also runs the website www.daveyd.com. "These companies limit the ability of the voiceless to communicate to the masses."
Jerilyn Stapleton, California NOW
"Any further deregulation of FCC limitations on media ownership would adversely affect women, especially women of color," said Stapleton, chair of the group's Media Reform Committee. "We have noticed a significant decrease in opportunities for women to participate in ownership in the areas of TV, radio and print. The National Organization for Women opposes any further consolidation of media ownership."
Jonathan Rintels, Center for Creative Voices in Media
"Diverse, independent voices, visions and faces have been replaced on primetime television by homogenized programming narrowly tailored to serve the broadcast conglomerate's commercial interests," said Rintels. "The chilling effect of the FCC's indecency crusade causes broadcasters to censor, delay or drop some of the highest-quality programming on television. In today's concentrated and chilled television environment, serious, controversial, challenging programming may not get produced."
Len Hill, Leonard Hill Films
"Freed from regulation, the television networks have merged with the largest studios and created even stronger, more tightly controlled, vertically and horizontally integrated media conglomerates," said Hill, an independent producer. "Deregulation has driven independent production into virtual extinction."
Emily Rusch, Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG
"When media owners control too many outlets, local, diverse news coverage declines and our democracy suffers. In 2003, millions of Americans urged the FCC to prevent monopolies in media ownership, and now, three years later, the public still strongly opposes media consolidation."
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, President WARD EDC
"Today, people of color are still looking for significant economic development opportunities," said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, social action officer at AME Church and president of Ward Economic Development Corporation. "The impact of media upon every decision in all aspects of life is undeniable. Everyone should be able to own media and ensure that the perspective of their community is covered fairly."
Alex Nogales, President, National Hispanic Media Coalition
"The change in media rules will impact every household in this country," Nogales said. "The FCC needs to ensure diverse participation in the audience and that every Angeleno who wants to be heard on this issue gets the opportunity to voice his or her concerns."
Hannah Sassaman, Prometheus Radio Project
"Last time around, churches, schools, and community groups fought the giveaway of our airwaves tooth and nail," said Sassaman, whose group of Low Power FM advocates was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that rejected the new rules. "They told the FCC to limit media consolidation, because the more opportunities corporate media have to buy up more radio stations, the fewer spaces there are for us to use our own airwaves."
Josh Silver, Executive Director, Free Press
"These hearings are a long overdue opportunity for the public to weigh in on the crucial decisions that shape our media," Silver said. "It's about time that Chairman Kevin Martin and the other FCC Commissioners got outside of the Beltway and actually listened to everyday people about how the media are serving their communities."
For more information, please call Craig Aaron at 202-441-9983 (in Los Angeles on Tuesday) or Jen Howard at 202-265-1490, x 22. Or visit www.stopbigmedia.com/=lahearing