FCC: Big Media Should Get Bigger

On a three to two party line vote, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to overturn "a 32-year-old ban," allowing "broadcasters in the nation's 20 largest media markets to also own a newspaper." FCC Chair Kevin Martin, who proposed the change, called it "a relatively minor loosening" of media ownership rules. Dissenting Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein disagree. Copps commented, "We shed crocodile tears for the financial plight of newspapers -- yet the truth is that newspaper profits are about double the S&P 500 average. We pat ourselves on the back for holding six field hearings across the United States -- yet today's decision turns a deaf ear to the thousands of Americans who waited in long lines for an open mike to testify." Congress may try to overturn the change, though Bush is likely to veto any such attempt. In related news, Martin delayed a vote on product integration on television. The delay came after lobbying by "the three main U.S. advertising trade groups," though the FCC is expected to address the issue by early 2008, according to Hollywood Reporter.