The Rev. Jesse Jackson to Headline FCC Localism Hearing

FCC Chairman Martin Promised Hearing as Part of Media-Ownership-Rule Push

Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder the Rev. Jesse Jackson will be among the headliners at a localism hearing at the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

The commission Monday announced the witness list for the hearing, where the FCC will also present a summary of its findings to date and give the public an opportunity to comment.

Jackson has framed media ownership as an important civil-rights issue because, he said, control of the media is control of the national agenda.

In addition to Jackson, witnesses will include Marcellus Alexander from the National Association of Broadcasters; Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America, National Public Radio veteran and now-XM Satellite Radio show host Bob Edwards; Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women; Jim Goodman, Capital Broadcasting; Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Andrew J. Schwartzman, Media Access Project; Christopher Sterling, George Washington University; and S. Derek Turner, Free Press.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin wants to vote on new media-ownership rules by mid-December and had promised a report on the impact of media consolidation on broadcasters’ service to their communities before doing so.

Former FCC chairman Michael Powell launched the localism proceeding in 2003 as part of an ownership-rule rewrite that was ultimately remanded by a federal court back to the FCC for better justification. It is that rewrite Martin wants to conclude after some 18 months.