Copps arranges more media hearings


Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps is planning two more hearings on media-ownership deregulation to be held in March.

The first will be at the University of Washington in Seattle in early March.

Later in the month, Duke University will host one in Durham, N.C.

FCC commissioner Michael Copps instigated the additional hearings and has
invited his fellow commissioners to attend.

Specific dates have not been announced and no other commissioners have
committed yet.

Copps also wants the FCC to arrange for media professionals to testify
anonymously when they fear retribution by big media companies, such as
termination of contracts or firing.

"There are media professionals with strong feelings about the downsides of
consolidation for the American people who are afraid to speak for fear of
retribution," he said. "I am working with my fellow commissioners to establish
an anonymous testimony procedure for any producer, writer, musician, actor,
broadcaster, or other media professional who feels threatened."

The next official FCC hearing is scheduled Feb. 27 in Richmond,

FCC chairman Michael Powell won't be attending the latest hearings.

"You don't need a 19th century whistle-stop tour to hear from America," he said in a statement.

Powell noted that the FCC has received a "staggering" 13,000 comments from the general public.

Still he commended "others" who have an interest in additional hearings.

The next official FCC hearing is scheduled Feb. 27 in Richmond, Va., which Powell has pledged to attend.