The FCC announced Wednesday that it will hold an open meeting and its Sixth Localism Hearing on October 31, 2007 at the Commission in Washington, DC. Combining its standard agenda with a further hearing on localism, the Commission intends to begin its meeting at 9 AM and conclude by 2PM. A copy of the FCC’s public notice is available here.
The Localism Hearing portion of the program continues the string of hearings conducted around the country in recent years. As we’ve written earlier, the Localism Hearings were part of a larger proceeding begun in response to the controversy after the 2003 multiple ownership rules and seek to gather input on how well broadcasters are serving the needs of their local communities . The Oct. 31st meeting will include a presentation by the Media Bureau summarizing the record that the FCC has compiled thusfar on localism, as well as a period for comment by the public. Commissioners Copps and Adelstein issued a press release on Wednesday, denouncing the hearing as last minute and unfair, stating: "This is unacceptable and unfair to the public. And it makes putting together an expert panel nearly impossible. Is the Commission serious about allowing the public to participate in the agency’s decisionmaking? Or is the goal to be able to claim that hearings have been held, even if the public has not had a chance to fully participate?” It will be even more unacceptable and unfair if the meeting gets delayed and keeps folks from trick-or-treating with their kids.
With respect to the agenda items on tap for the open meeting portion of the program, the Commission appears ready to act on a Report and Order concerning exclusive contracts for the provision of video services to multiple dwelling units, and a Second Report and Order regarding local franchising authorities and the awarding of cable franchises.