FCC Commissioner, Jonathon Adelstein will be addressing several issues pertaining to corporate ownership and cross media ownership this week, in Portland. These are topics of which I am particularly interested and I am happy to be attending this event as a representative of rural Oregon.

So, what FCC rules might change?

The current FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin, wants to change the rules to let press and media corporations get even bigger.

On June 21, 2006, Martin issued a draft proposal — called a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, or FNPRM — that kick-started media companies’ latest effort to weaken the rules protecting local voices, vibrant competition and diverse viewpoints.

The text of the proposal is vague but its intent is clear: to let a handful of giant media corporations swallow up more local television channels, radio stations and newspapers in a single market.

Media and Martin want to eliminate two key protections:

· The rule on ‘newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership,’ which prevents companies from owning a television or radio station and the major daily newspaper in the same area.

· The local ownership caps that limit a company from owning more than one television station in most markets. (They can own two in larger markets as long as there are at least eight other competitors.)

The media corporations want the FCC to lift the restrictions on broadcast cross-ownership and allow one company to own more television stations in a single market. These changes would diminish the diversity of voices and viewpoints and reduce coverage of local issues that matter to communities.

If the changes are approved, in the Portland Metro region for example, one company could own the major daily newspaper, eight radio stations and three television stations, the internet service provider, and the cable company. What’s more, once the digital television transition is completed in 2009 — allowing stations to broadcast multiple signals – a single company could control up to 18 television channels in one market.

Oregon Alliance to Reform Media, Mission and Work: http://www.oregonarm.org

Oregon Alliance to Reform Media News Release regarding cross ownership: