FCC chair Michael Powell has announced a new initiative to study localism despite the FCC's refusal to stay its changes that undermine localism.
The FCC announced on August 20 a new initiative to study localism in broadcasting. This comes after the June 2 decision by a 3-2 vote to deregulate media conglomeration that fundamentally undermines localism. The changes made by the FCC has sparked a public backlash, motivating the House of Representatives to block one of the key rule changes while the Senate is preparing to consider a proposal to overturn all six changes that were approved by this pro-business FCC.
The FCC's new concern for localism is a vacuous bow to the public outrage of its behavior, however the FCC refuses to consider a stay on the June 2 changes. The FCC devalue of localism can be seen by the June 24 shut down of Radio Free Brattleboro. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has been an outspoken opponent of the recent changes. Copps had lead a nation wide campaign against the proposed changes approved by the FCC in June, however his campaign was under funded and received little publicity. On August 20, as Powell announced the localism initiative, Copps released a statement, saying "This proposal is a day late and a dollar short. It highlights the failures of the recent decision to dismantle ownership protections. To say that protecting localism was not germane to that decision boggles the mind. The ownership protections, as well as the other public interest protections that the Commission has dismantled over the past years, are all designed to promote localism, diversity and competition. We should have heeded the calls from over 2 million Americans and so many Members of Congress expressing concern about the impact of media concentration on localism and diversity before we rushed to a vote. We should have vetted these issues before we voted. Instead, we voted; now we are going to vet. This is a policy of ‘ready, fire, aim!’"
The FCC's press release (August 20, 2003) announcing the localism initiative:
Copp's statement (August 20, 2003) criticizing the FCC willingness to let media consolidation continue:
Motion for stay, filed (August 18, 2003) by Capitol Broadcasting Company, Communications Workers of America, Consumers Union, Parents Television Council and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: