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Friday, May 26, 2006

Will Robert M. McDowell Confirmation Move Broadcast Items?

The confirmation by the Senate on Friday, May 26, 2006 of Robert M. McDowell to be the 5th FCC commissioner might spur some movement in two long pending broadcast items on the 8th floor.

Two of the broadcast items reportedly now in a hold status due to the lack of three votes are:

  • The HD radio item where Commissioners Adelstein and Copps were reportedly insisting on additional public interest obligations for the 2nd channel. This item might also take up AM nighttime HD broadcasting which has been a hot potato due to concerns over possible interference.
  • The ownership proceedings where emotions run high on media consolidation. The broadcast/newspaper same market ownership ban is expected to be taken up first although there are any number of ownership issues that have strong support as well as strong opposition. For broadcast stations in smaller markets, there may be but three unattractive choices: (1) buy the local newspaper; (2) be bought by the local newspaper; or (3) watch your competitor be bought by the local newspaper.

It will be interesting to see the FCC's agenda for its next Commission meeting.


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