Friday, October 07, 2005

Clear Channel to the Rescue

In a speech at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays mentions Katrina relief to underscore the importance of Big Radio in times of emergency.

We were "literally, the lifeline to thousands who were trapped in the flood waters along the Gulf Coast," Mays told an audience of well-paid industry analysts. "It was free radio professionals who opened impassible roads and waded through life-threatening waters to restore broadcasts."

Amidst the accolades, Mays forgets to mention his radio stations' less than heroic performance in Minot, ND.

No matter. The real problem for his radio colossus is that their service to the public is "crippled by at-times suffocating regulations." Increasing the station limit, he said, will let this work continue by "making the playing field level."

Forgive my math, but how does allowing one company own up to twelve stations in a single market balance out?

1 comment:

cspanjunky said...

To: U.S. Congress and the FCC

We, the undersigned, while believing in the importance of a Free Market and Freedom of Speech, also believe in the importance of The Public Airwaves to be used as mandated by the FCC "...In the Public Interest, Necessity, and Convenience." We believe the use of The Public Airwaves is crucial to spread knowledge, culture, and civics. We therefore write to petition you to consider major changes in the allocation of the Broadcast Spectrum.

The Public Airwaves are a Vast Toxic Wasteland.
Congress needs to hold hearing on THE STATE OF THE AIRWAVES.
They would find:

1) That the Broadcast and Cable companies have not lived up to using the Public Airwaves, as the FCC mandated "... in the spirit of Public Interest, Necessity, and Convenience."

2) That the FCC and Congress have " given away, rent free", the Public Airwaves.

3) That the Broadcast and Cable companies have "... made so much money doing IT'S worst, IT can't afford to do better."

In the 1990's the FCC, with much support from the Congress, auctioned off portions of the Broadcast Spectrum. One portion of the Spectrum that was being auctioned would potentially reach 16 million customers (citizens). Almost as many people as the population of the state of Texas.

That particular portion sold for $3.00. Three dollars! When former FCC chairman Reed was asked to comment, he said "...I wish I had three dollars".

This cavalier policy and stewardship of the Public Airwaves has been good for the Broadcast and Cable companies, and their stock holders. And absolutely hideous for Civics, Public Affairs, and Democracy.

Before 2009, the FCC will give away more of the Public Airwaves, worth between 80-100 billion dollars. Once again, the Public will be outside, looking in, as the Broadcast Spectrum goes to the highest campaign contributors.

What does the Public receive from the License holders, for their use of the Broadcast Spectrum? Inexpensive Cable and Satellite packages? Intellectually stimulating programs broadcast into our homes at no charge? Choices and Diversity? Event coverage and programming with redeemable qualities? Or is it "...500 channels and still there's nothing worth watching".

There are many Independent, Grassroots, and Localized ways to use the Broadcast Spectrum. But on the National level, the Country needs more Public affairs, more Civics. The unedited, undefiled paradigm C-SPAN has perfected, is the only thing We can all agree on. It promotes Democracy and Participation. Not even the corporate media conglomerates can be against Democracy.

We therefore call on the Congress, and the FCC, to hold hearings on the benefits of more C-SPAN. And to take steps to move forward with the endeavor of creating more C-SPAN Companion Networks. When there is more than enough Broadcast Spectrum to dedicate to Civics, Culture, History and Democracy, We should not allow greed to get in the way of the Public Interest, Necessity and Convenience.

Put the Public back in the Public Airwaves.