Dozens of activists -- many donning
blue coats in the guise of mad scientists with cardboard televisions framing
their heads -- told Federal Communications Commission members visiting Richmond, Va., Thursday that big
business already has too much control of the media and they don't want more
deregulation of the industry.
"I am worried about the
concentration of media ownership into fewer and fewer hands," said Danny
LeBlanc, president of the Virginia AFL-CIO, during the agency field hearing.
Allen Barrett, Richmond National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president, said consolidation undermines minority
"Oligopoly in the Fourth Estate
is a real threat to diversity and democratic ideals," he said.
Neither LeBlanc nor Barrett posed
as mad scientists.
Bear Stearns & Co. analyst
Victor Miller disagreed with their complaints and said broadcasters' operating
expenses are under enormous pressure from programming costs and competition from
consolidating cable operations.
Herwitz, president of station operations for Fox Television, said efficiencies
brought by his company's large size allowed its owned-and-operated stations to increase local news