Michael K. Powell, Federal Communications Chairman, today announced a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing localism amongst broadcast media, specifically radio and TV. "This past June, the Commission completed the most comprehensive review of its structural broadcast ownership rules in history. This twenty month study produced a balanced set of structural rules, faithful to the directives of Congress and the courts, to promote and protect diversity, competition and localism in the 21st Century broadcast media marketplace." While Powell says that the ownership review concluded that the US has "the most diverse media marketplace in the world," he became aware of the massive public concern about media ownership. "We heard the public concern about the media loud and clear," said Powell, "Localism is at the core of these concerns and we are going to tackle it head on."
Mi2N.com reports that to spearhead his initiatives, Powell has created the Localism Task Force. Led by FCC Deputy Genearl Counsel Michele Ellison and Deputy Chief of the Media Bureau Robert Ratcliffe, the Localism Task Force "will advise the Commission on steps it can take and, if warranted, will make legislative recommendations to Congress that would strengthen localism in broadcasting." More specifically, the Task Force will:
Conduct studies to rigorously measure localism and how it may be affected by existing FCC rules.
Organize a series of public hearings on localism around the country.
Advise the Commission on recommendations to Congress this fall relating to the licensing of thousands of additional low power FM radio stations.
Make recommendations to the Commission within 12 months on how the Commission can promote localism in television and radio.
Advise the Commission on legislative recommendations to Congress that would strengthen localism.
"I also commend the commitment of my colleagues to the advancement of localism," said Powell. "They have consistently shown a deep and unwavering commitment in this important policy area, and I look forward to working closely with them on this initiative. Given our shared commitment in this area, I am optimistic that we will reach consensus on how the FCC can promote localism by broadcasters."