Senators to FCC: Don't Rush Ownership Vote


Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said last week that if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin tries to “ram through” a vote on media ownership rules by mid-December they would try to use a rarely seen procedural move, a resolution of disapproval, to invalidate it—so rare that the first time it was used was the last time the FCC tried to deregulate ownership.

The Senate voted to approve a similar bill when the FCC passed deregulatory rules back in 2003. It is that review Martin was hoping to vote on by the end of the year after 18 months of review and hearings and comment.

But Dorgan and Lott, at a Capitol Hill press conference last week, said that would be a rush to judgment. They also said they were working on other possible legislative efforts, including requiring the FCC to complete a separate proceeding on the effects of consolidation on broadcast localism.

By week's end, more legislators, activist groups and unions were calling for the FCC to slow down on media ownership.