Organizers say that FCC Commissioners Copps, Adelstein and McDowell will attend a March 7 “town meeting” on media ownership in Columbus that is not part of the official FCC series of hearings.
Foes of media consolidation announced today that they will be holding a “town meeting” in Columbus, Ohio, on March 7 featuring three of the five FCC commissioners—Democrats Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell.
Sponsors include Free Press, Consumers Union, Common Cause Ohio, United Church of Christ Office of Communications, Inc., Columbus Metropolitan Area Church Council, Ohio PIRG, Ohio Citizen Action and Media Bridges.
All oppose relaxation of the limits on the number of TV and radio stations one company can own in one area and of the prohibition against newspaper/broadcast crossownership, which prevents companies from owning a television or radio station and the major daily newspaper in most markets.
Led by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the FCC is currently considering relaxing the ownership restrictions. In fact, it will be hosting the third in a series of six official public hearings on the matter in Harrisburg, Pa., tomorrow.
“Communities across the country and people of all political stripes are feeling the impact of media that have gotten too big and lost touch with their audience,” said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, one of the sponsors of the unofficial Columbus meeting.
“This situation will only get worse if the remaining limits on local ownership are gutted by the FCC,” Silver said. “This forum will give citizens in Ohio a chance to participate directly in the debate over the future of media ownership.”
The Columbus meeting will include an “open mike” session, during which local citizens will be able to air their concerns before the three commissioners.
All testimony will be recorded and submitted to the FCC and Ohio’s elected officials, the organizers said.