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D.C. DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB D.C. meeting info
Matthew Lasar FCC alert

Mentioned at the iPNB meeting in Washington D.C, December 6 - 8, 2002

December 7, 2002

To: All Pacifica/community radio station communities
From: Matthew Lasar
Contact list on FCC media ownership hearings:

Friends: We have an emergency situation on our hands. Please forward this message to every Pacifica/community radio programmer you know.

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will hold hearings in February, 2003 on whether to eliminate most of its media ownership limitation rules.

View the document at
Here's a news story:
Here's a release from FAIR: http://www.fair.org/activism/fcc-call-action.html

Apparently FCC Chair Michael Powell didn't even want to hold this hearing and only consented to it under pressure. Reports suggest that Powell favors dumping most media ownership caps. What does that mean?

--It could mean letting ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX merge.
--It could mean eliminating the 8 radio station regional market limit and eliminating caps preventing broadcasting corporations from owning enough stations to reach over 35% of the national audience. The Clear Channel corporation, which now owns 1,200 stations, could buy ALL the commercial stations in the United States if it likes.
--It could mean eliminating caps on cable system ownership.
--It could mean letting TV stations own newspapers.
--It could mean letting corporations own more than two TV stations in a regional market, perhaps many.

The doors and gates are slamming shut all around us. How will the Pacifica network effectively function as a democracy if present trends continue? The Telecommunications Act of 1996, with its partial relaxation of radio ownership limits, resulted in thousands of radio stations being snapped up by corporations, whose managers automated them and eliminated local programming. What will happen if the FCC now completely eliminates all ownership limits? How are we going to manage our five open, big signal FM radio stations if there is almost no place else on the FM dial or anywhere else for local access radio? How are we going to accommodate all the people who, thanks to the FCC's policies, have no place else to go? There is no internal organizational system or technology that can save us. There is only one way out, through political struggle over who will control the bandwidths.

Read Eric Bohlert's series in Salon magazine on the impact the Telecommunications Act had on radio. Some estimate that the Act resulted in the elimination of 10,000 radio jobs!

Here is the series:
. . . on the Telecommunications Act
. . . on Michael Powell
. . . on Clear Channel

Pacifica must respond to this crisis with full force. Even now, with war looming and with all the governance work that is to be done for the network, we MUST mobilize against these proposals. We must get the public to call Congress and the FCC (http://www.fcc.gov) and demand that the FCC stop this. I implore all the Pacifica stations to air constant coverage about this issue. All FCC hearings and all town hall discussions about the FCC proposals should be covered live.

Surely on this matter we can all stand together.

Here is a contact list of organizations and writers with expertise on this issue. The Web site for the list is http://www.lasarletter.com/fcctalk. Please forward this list to all the Pacifica stations and community stations around the country. Urge your favorite programmers to interview these people and get the word out.

Matthew Lasar

CONTACT LIST (If you want to be on the list please email me [ matthew@lasarletter.com ] and I'll put you up on the Web page http://www.lasarletter.com/fcctalk )

The Consumers Union
Contact: David Butler, Gene Kimmelman, or Chris Murray at their DC office, 202-462-6262

The Future of Music Coalition
Contact: Michael Bracy, 202.429.8855
Jenny Toomey, 202.518.4117

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Contact: Jeff Cohen or Steven Rendell, 212-633-6700

National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters
James Winston, Executive Director, 202-463-8970

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
Jayne Wallace, National Communications Director, 212-863-4260
http://www.aftra.org/ 360-4320 Center for Digital Democracy
Jeffrey Chester, Executive Director, 202-331-7842

The Media Access Project
Andrew Jay Schwarzman, 202-454-5681

Robert McChesney, author Rich Media: Poor Democracy, 217-337-0574

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