FCC Adds Ownership Studies to Official Record

Federal Communications Commission Complies with Office of Management and Budget's Rules
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The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday entered its peer-reviewed, and media-activist-criticized, ownership studies into the docket for comments on its media-ownership review.

That review was effectively over as of Dec. 18, when the FCC voted to modify its ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership but do no more to loosen -- or tighten -- its media-ownership rules.

But according to Media Bureau chief Monica Desai in a letter also filed in the docket, the commission was making them part of the official record to comply with the Office of Management and Budget's rules on publicizing peer-reviewed studies used in making regulatory decisions.

An FCC spokesperson was not available for comment on the data drop, but the agency has been under fire for its processes, so the move may simply have been an effort to make sure it had complied unequivocally with the OMB requirement.

Those rules require federal agencies to "make available to the public the written charge to the peer reviewers, the peer reviewers’ names, the peer reviewers’ report(s) and the agency’s response to the peer reviewers’ report(s)."

Desai pointed out in the letter that the studies and their reviews were already published on the FCC's Web site last fall, but were now being made part of the official docket.