Pennslyvania Legislators Want FCC To Better Promote Ownership Hearings

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Look for the commission to put out details late Friday on its media ownership public hearing scheduled for Harrisburg, Pa., Feb. 23.

That should make some Pennsylvania members of Congress happy. Reps Mike Doyle, Tim Holden, Robert Brady, and Allyson Schwartz sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Friday asking the commission to "quickly issue a public notice of the hearing location and schedule."

It was likely to have done so anyway, given that it is seven days before the hearing, when it is required to release an agenda per sunshine laws.

The legislators also advised the chairman to issue such information earlier for its next hearing, arguing it had not given enough lead time.

"With Monday being the President's Day holiday, we believe that you're leaving very little time for the public to hear about and plan to attend the hearing," they wrote. "In addition, we understand the hearing is likely to take place during a weekday rather than a weekend, or after 6 p.m. when working people can attend. While no time is perfect for everyone, we believe that those hours will severely limit participation, particularly when those who may want to take time off of work haven't been given all the necessary details in a timely fashion.

"For future hearings," they said, "we ask that you provide the public enough notice, full event details including location and holding a hearing at a time that will allow the largest number of citizens to attend."

"The commission welcomes input from members of Congress and all citizens regarding the planning of public hearings," said FCC spokesman Clyde Ensslin.

The FCC is reviewing its ownership rules per a congressionally-mandated quadrennial review and a court-ordered remand of its attempt to change the rules in 2003.