A U.S. appeals court refused on Thursday to allow loosened federal media rules on media ownership to take effect, dealing a blow to large media companies like News Corp. that are hoping to expand.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the new rules would not take effect until the Federal Communications Commission better explained how it came up with them.
“The Commission has not sufficiently justified its particular chosen numerical limits for local television ownership, local radio ownership, and cross-ownership of media within local markets,” the court’s 218-page opinion said.
The FCC last year lifted a ban on a company owning both a newspaper and television stations or radio outlets in a single market. It also agreed in many cases to allow a company to own two television stations in a single market.
I use to think that media deregulation was an absolutely good thing. I wondered by so many people, when complaining about it, cited News Corp. and Clear Channel.
NewsCorp was cited because of the vast right wing conspiracy – easily dismissed. But what of Clear Channel? Allegations ranged from heavy handedness to ruining markets to shutting out competitors to cookie cutter radio stations.
Now I can see the problem.
I am helping a number of candidates on the state and local level — all non-federal right now.
There are two major radio owners in my area — Cumulus and Clear Channel. Cumulus has most of the stations that cater to Republicans — country AM-Talk with Rush and Hannity, Oldies, Classic Rock. Clear Channel has most of the stations that cater to Democrats — Urban, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern Rock/Alternative, etc.
Clear Channel will not let non-federal candidates advertise on its most popular radio stations, which are the only stations worth advertising on. I have one candidate willing to pay the full rate and Clear Channel will not let them. The law doesn’t require them to, so they don’t.
I’m all for the free market and letting the media police itself, but there is a public responsibility that Clear Channel is skipping out on.