April 20 FCC workshop in Tampa: resources and background info

*** Park in the Cresent Hill Parking Garage, next to the Marshal Center. The garage is on Holly Drive between Cedar and Mertle Drives. You can purchase a parking permit from the machine in the parking garage for $5 with a credit or debit card.

Check out our new blog post on the Tampa workshop and media ownership in 2010!

FCC public workshop on cross-ownership (agenda below)
Tuesday, April 20, 3-7:30pm (public comment at 6pm)
Marshall Student Center, University of South Florida (directions below)
4202 E Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL

FCC in Tampa, ready to export Tampa model nationwide with new rules

The FCC will be in Tampa on Tuesday for a public workshop on ending its longtime cross-ownership ban. The ban prevents one company from owning the newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market, a situation that already exists in Tampa, where Media General's ownership of the Tampa Tribune and WFLA predates the 1975 ban. The FCC's attempts at deregulation in 2003 and 2007 were blocked by a federal court after the landmark Prometheus v. FCC case and a national outcry against media consolidation. That court removed its prohibition on the FCC in March, so the FCC may now deregulate for the first time in seven years, this time with little public attention.

Is the FCC likely to change the rules? Would a rule change mean more consolidation?

At a broadcasters conference in Las Vegas last week, Inside Radio reported that FCC Chairman Julius Genochowski hinted he was open to further deregulation, and that lobbyists are expecting  the FCC to again try to remove cross-ownership limits. While some claim that rule changes won't lead to mergers in this economic climate, GE Capital's Raymond Shu told Radio Business Report, "I think if the ownership rules loosens up, then I think you could expect to see an increase in M & A [merger and acquisition] activity, both within each  individual sectors, but perhaps also across different sectors where a newspaper company may merge with a broadcaster and so forth." GE Capital is one of the largest media lenders in the industry, with eight billion in assets in the field.

Doesn't the Internet mean that we don't need rules to protect the diversity of news sources in a community?

According to the Pew Excellence in Journalism's State of the Media report, 80% of traffic to news and information websites is concentrated to the top 7% of those sites, and most of those (67%) are owned by newspapers and other traditional news sources. The same companies that dominate offline, dominate online. The consolidation of traditional media impacts the diversity of news that most people access on the Internet.

Will cross-ownership save newspapers?

There's no evidence that cross-ownership will save newspapers, news jobs, or news. In fact, the consolidated media model is responsible for much of the crisis in journalism, as companies have taken on huge debts through mergers and acquisitions over the past decade. Research also shows that the presence of a cross-owned station leads other stations in a market to collectively curtail their news output by about 25 percent, reducing the overall news available in a community.

How can people participate in Tuesday's workshop?

Show up at the Marshall Center (directions below) early and sign in, as public comment will be first come, first served. Each person will have two minutes to speak. Be concise and specific, and feel free to share a personal perspective on why media ownership matters in your community or in your life or work. How has increased consolidation impacted the quality of news and information in Tampa Bay? How has the Tampa Tribune, a cross-owned paper, fared in comparison with other local news sources? Tell the FCC to support local, independent news sources, and not to bail out giant media corporations by allowing them to continue investing in a model that doesn't serve local communities.

Directions to the Marshall Student Center
From I-275

    * Take exit 52, Fletcher Ave/CR-582A and head East for 2.5 miles.
    * Turn right at USF Palm Dr.
    * Turn left at USF Holly Dr.
    * Turn right at USF Cedar Circle.
    * There is a parking garage, meters, and handicap parking available. For more information about parking permits and policies, visit the USF Parking Services Website.
From I-75

    * Take exit 266, Fletcher Ave and head West on Fletcher for 4.0 miles.


    * Turn left at N Palm Dr/USF Palm Dr.


    * Turn left at E Holly Dr.


    * Turn right at Cedar Circle.


    * There is a parking garage, meters, and handicap parking available. For more information about parking permits and policies, visit the USF Parking Services Website.

Resources on participating in the FCC workshop:

Each member of the public will have two minutes to speak during the public comment period. You can ask the panel questions or you can make your own comment. The FCC staff doesn't get out of Washington often, so this is an important opportunity for them to find out what issues really matter to people. Tell the FCC why media ownership matters to you and your community! Be direct and concise. Feel free to draw from the materials below.

Four points Some quick talking points to get you started.

Does media ownership matter anymore? A nice blog post from Josh Stearns of Free Press that debunks the industry claim that the rules no longer matter in the age of Internet.

Media is not a partisan issue One page fact sheet (circa 2007)

April 20, 2010 FCC workshop agenda (also pasted below)

Resources on Tampa media:

Who owns the media in Tampa? Somewhat outdated (also from 2007), but still useful and largely still accurate. NOTE: the dates/times for events are NOT accurate, they refer to the 2007 hearing.

Local blog posts on media ownership:







Washington, D.C.: The Media Bureau today announced further details for its April 20, 2010, media ownership workshop being held from 3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Marshall Student Center, University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Avenue, Tampa, Florida. The workshop will explore the impact of newspaper-television and newspaper-radio cross-ownership and the effect these combinations have on the quantity, quality, diversity and responsiveness of local news and public affairs programming. The forum is open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. The public will be given an opportunity to participate via “open microphone.” The workshop will also be broadcast live over the Internet from the FCC Live web page at http://reboot.fcc.gov/live. Questions from the Internet audience can be submitted throughout the course of the workshop via email to 2010quadrennial@fcc.gov and via Twitter using the hash tag #MoTPA.

Agenda and Panelists

3:00 p.m. Opening Remarks William Lake, Chief, Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

3:15 p.m. Local Cross-Ownership

Steve Waldman, Senior Advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (Moderator)
Robert Dardenne, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, University of South Florida Karen Dunlap, President, The Poynter Institute
Bernard Lunzer, President, The Newspaper Guild and Vice President, Communications Workers of America
Patrick Manteiga, Editor and Publisher, La Gaceta
John Schueler, President, Florida Communications Group, Media General, Inc.
Ken Tonning, President and General Manager, WTSP-TV, Gannett Company, Inc.
Marc Vila, Vice President and General Manager, WQBN-AM, Radio Tropical, Inc.
Sandy Wilson, Vice President of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Cox Enterprises, Inc.

4:30 p.m. Break

4:45 p.m. Questions and Answers

6:15 p.m. Public Comments (but come earlier to sign up if you can-first come, first served!)

7:30 p.m. Adjournment

Open captioning will be provided. Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Include a description of the accommodation you will need. Also include a way we can contact you if we need more information. Last-minute requests will be accepted, but may not be possible to fill. Send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty). For further information, contact Krista Witanowski, Media Bureau, 202-418-2449. -FCC

who_owns_tampa.pdf266.52 KB
4points.pdf26.42 KB
2007 tampa hearing agenda.pdf122.05 KB
media is not a partisan issue.pdf49.19 KB