Free Press turned in its ownership diversity
by the FCC deadline -- the day after Christmas -- and its conclusion was that a
recent ownership report showed abysmally low levels of station ownership by
women and minorities.
Chairman Julius Genachowski provided a 30-day comment period on the so-called
323 report but still wants a vote on his proposal to loosen crossownership
Press said in its comments Wednesday that the comment period was a start, not
the end of the process. "We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the
data," said Free Press policy director Matt Wood, "which still shows
shockingly low levels of broadcast ownership diversity. But the FCC's truncated
comment period - during the holiday season, no less - is hardly a serious attempt
to address this matter.... Releasing these numbers is the first step the FCC
needs to take, but it's not enough. Just having the numbers in hand won't
satisfy the mandate of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the
agency's attempts to weaken ownership rules on two prior occasions."
Press wants the FCC to study the impact of the chairman's proposal on those
"abysmally" low numbers, suggesting that analysis would result in the
conclusion they any more deregulation cannot be justified.