The FCC has released the agenda for its Workshop on the multiple ownership rules (about which we wrote here). The workshop will span three mornings (November 2-4), and will include live testimony from a different panel each morning. The first panel will include the academic perspective on ownership rules, the second the view from "public interest organizations", and the third from industry representatives, though the participants on that panel are, at this point, the most unsettled. The Commission also requests written comments from the public, which can be filed through November 20. As we wrote when this topic first came up last month, these workshops are the first step in the FCC’s consideration of the multiple ownership rules – a review that it is required to conduct once every 4 years – with 2010 being the year in which such review is required.
The Commission sets out a series of questions that it would like to have addressed. These questions include:
- The FCC is required by statute to consider the rules governing local radio ownership, local television ownership, radio-TV cross-ownership, broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership and the dual network rule. The Commission asks if it should consider other rules in the context of this proceeding.
- In assessing ownership rules, should the Commission treat each rule in isolation, or should it look at all media together and attempt to craft more general rules addressing media consolidation as a whole in relevant markets?
- Should rules that are adopted be "bright line" rules, that limit entities to specific numbers of stations, or should the Commission make a case by case determination of whether a combination is in the public interest, subject to some general principles?
- Should the Commission address the traditional concepts of competition, diversity and localism to this proceeding, or come up with new ways of looking at these concepts, or different concepts to assess ownership goals?
- How should the FCC analyze competition, localism and diversity in today’s marketplace? What are the relevant markets for analysis? What metrics should be used?
- What studies or analysis should the FCC use to inform its decisions on these topics.