The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Timothy Karr: 201-533-8838,,

Free Press President to Testify at FCC Hearing

Josh Silver to Discuss How Comcast’s Proposed Takeover of NBC Will Affect Online Video


the Federal Communications Commission's public hearing next week on the
proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, Free Press President and
CEO Josh Silver will testify about the merger's
impact on the marketplace for online video. The July 13 hearing is
slated to begin at 1:00 p.m., with opening remarks from FCC
Commissioner Michael Copps. The public will have a chance to speak out about the proposed merger both in person and via Twitter.

The hearing will consist of two panels on online video distribution and
multichannel video programming. Silver will speak on the online video
distribution panel along with Cardozo Law School Professor Susan Crawford and Markham Erickson of the Open Internet Coalition. Tyrone Brown, president of Media Access Project, will be on the multichannel video programming panel.

There will be an opportunity for the public to comment after the
panels. Sign up opens at 5:00 p.m., and the comment period begins at
6:00 p.m. During the comment period, the Commission will take questions
from the audience, and also from online participants on Twitter using
the hashtag #fccNBC.

Here are the details:

WHAT: FCC Public Hearing on Comcast-NBC Universal Merger

DATE: Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TIME: 1:00-8:00 p.m., public comment period from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Northwestern University Law School
Thorne Auditorium
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL

Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform organization, is
urging people to attend the hearing and educating the public about the
negative impacts of unchecked media consolidation.

Comcast's takeover of NBC could be particularly harmful to Chicago,
where Comcast is already the dominant cable and Internet service
provider. If the merger is approved, Comcast would acquire NBC 5
Chicago and Telemundo Chicago, as well as Versus, the cable channel
that carries Chicago Blackhawks games. Comcast would also own the NBC
broadcast network, dozens of cable channels, 24 other local broadcast
stations, TV and movie studios and major websites.

"We encourage the people of Chicago to come out to the hearing and make
your voices heard, and if you're not based in Chicago, to participate
online," said Josh Silver of Free Press. "It's important that the FCC
hears from the public about the impact that Comcast's takeover of NBC
will have on them and their communities. The merger is particularly bad
for Americans in cities like Chicago, where Comcast is the main cable
provider and NBC owns local TV stations. If the merger is approved,
Comcast will own one in five TV viewing hours; cable bills will rise;
and consumers will have fewer choices in programming. The deal would
threaten local competition, newsgathering and advertising."

To learn more, visit

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

(202) 265-1490