Iger opines to Powell on localism


Walt Disney President Robert Iger argued that TV stations do not need to be owned locally to provide local news and programming in a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell on Tuesday.

"The true measure of localism in broadcasting is not who owns the station but how committed that station owner is to the local community," Iger wrote and gave examples of the local programming provided by several ABC-owned stations in Philadelphia, Houston and Flint, Mich. "It would be particularly anachronistic for you to retain the broadcast cap given the rapidly consolidating media marketplace in which ABC competes," Iger wrote.

"With the AOL/Time Warner merger and Comcast's bid for AT&T Broadband, it is clear that the media marketplace is continuing to consolidate on all levels - from radio to cable to the Internet - and it would be senseless to retain the entirely theoretical broadcast cap in this atmosphere." ABC owns ten stations that cover less than 25% of the national broadcast audience, but Iger says "we cannot sit back and let our business partners - the affiliates - to distort the facts. Their fierce lobbying is about money - not about localism." - Paige Albiniak