Democratic FCC Commissioners, Hollywood to Talk About Media Concentration

Copps, Adelstein to Speak at Emerson College in Boston Oct. 23

Hollywood's beef with media consolidation will get an airing Oct. 23 at Emerson College in Boston.

Slated to participate are Democratic Federal Communications Commission members Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, who are veteran media-consolidation critics.

From Hollywood comes Vin Di Bona, chairman of the Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors, which opposes further consolidation, as well as executive producer of America's Funniest Home Videos and veteran programming chief Lucie Salhany, whose resume includes chairman of Fox Broadcasting and Twentieth Television and head of UPN. Both are members of Emerson's board of trustees.

According to a release, the Democratic commissioners were the only ones who could attend, with scheduling conflicts cited as the reason for the Republicans’ absence.

The FCC has been holding media-ownership hearings -- with the Hollywood side usually getting a fraction of the attention most of the time -- devoted to the affects of consolidation on diversity of voices, minority ownership and news coverage.

Billed as a discussion, the event will focus on the diversity, or lack of it, in primetime network-programming production -- a topic on which the participants are likely in agreement on.

Di Bona is also an advisor to the Center for Creative Voices in Media, the Hollywood-backed group that has been pushing the FCC to require networks to set aside 25% of their primetime airtime for independent productions.

Ever since the FCC scrapped its financial interest in syndication rules, networks have been able to produce and domestically syndicate their own programming, which independent producers have argued squeezed then out of the picture.

At a Los Angeles media ownership hearing, at which Hollywood issues got more attention for obvious reasons, Steven J. Cannell (Rockford Files, The Commish), talked of being forced to give up financial control as a quid pro quo for getting network airtime.

As network-TV viewers have likely noted, there are scads of quirkily named companies that pop up in the end production credits, but often they are "in association" with one of the big studios, which also own networks.