June 26, 2002
The Honorable Michael K. Powell
445 Twelfth Street, SW
Recently, I, along with my
colleague, Chairman Upton, wrote to you urging the Federal
Communications Commission (Commission) to complete expeditiously
its rulemaking on the
newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. The explosion of media
sources since 1975, when the rule was first implemented, should
eliminate lingering concerns regarding a lack of diversity of views
in the marketplace and the need for greater media competition -- the
principal justifications for the newspaper/broadcast cross ownership rule in the
first place. Indeed,
the vast majority of commenters in this proceeding advocate repeal
of this antiquated and unnecessary rule, noting in large part the
dramatic changes in the media marketplace.
I am disappointed with the
Commission´s decision to defer what should be an immediate repeal of
this outdated rule.
However, I am heartened that final resolution of all
of the outstanding broadcast ownership issues -- in the form of an "omnibus"
proceeding -- is on the
horizon. These rules
were developed to address concerns of a by-gone era. The enormously competitive
and diverse environment within which all media outlets now exist -
created by the growth of cable, satellite, and the Internet over the
past two decades - demands a fundamental reexamination of the
continuing validity of the assumptions underlying these rules. Timely resolution of these
ownership issues is absolutely essential to alleviating regulatory
uncertainty in the marketplace, and will ensure that the broadcast
ownership rules more accurately reflect and respond to today´s media
the Court has determined, if the Commission is to retain
its media ownership rules in their present form, it must first
justify their need.
I commend the Commission for
announcing its plans to move forward on a consolidated broadcast
ownership rulemaking and seek your assurance that the Commission
will take final action on the broadcast ownership rules no later
than Spring of 2003.
I appreciate your attention to
this matter and look forward to your response.
Committee on Energy and