Thursday, November 29, 2007

FCC Chairman, Michael Powell= Public Enemy #1

Just when we thought the radio, news, and lack of independent thought couldn’t possibly get any worse in this country- this moron, Michael Powell, Chairman of the FCC wants to lift a 30-year ban on media companies owning a newspaper and TV or radio station in the same market.

This will let Big Media (the whopping 6 companies that own most if it- Disney, Time Warner, News Corp, OE, Viacom, and CBS) control the dissemination of culture and news in the biggest markets- making it harder and harder for the representation of local, diverse, and independent voices to be heard in our media. If this passes say good bye to your favorite radio stations, local TV networks, and newspapers- hell even the nations oldest paper the Hartford Courant (from my home state of boring ole Connecticut) is in jeopardy.

Last time the FCC changed the books drastically was with the 1996 Telecommunications Act. It was a bill that the FCC claimed would pursue, “core public interest concerns of promoting diversity and competition.” This allowed Clear Channel to buy 1200 radio stations - 1 out of every ten in the U.S. Before this bill was passed only 65 stations were owned by large corporate entities.

Ever wonder why radio is flippin’ boring and homogenized these days? It’s because some jerk at the Clear Channel office programs the playlists that are virtually THE SAME all across the country. The Clear Channel CEO, Lowry Mays, has even said:

“If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn’t be someone from our company. We’re not in the business of providing new and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.”


In case you haven’t noticed or heard radio is at a 27 year all time low. Only 4% of radio stations are privately owned.


- Big Media has spent $615 million to lobby government officials from 2000-2005- in that same period the oil and gas industries spend $325 million in that same time span.
- From 1995-2003 media corporations and associations paid for 2,500 full expense trips

The decision comes December 18th. Ian Mackaye, John Doe, Toby Keith, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby and many other musicians wrote a letter of concern to the FCC.

As Mike Watt told me in our interview a few weeks back “this kind of one thought or one style of music being popular is just so dangerous for any kind of art, life, or creativity in anything.”

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