FCC Media Ownership Vote Delayed to Study Minority Impact

Todd Shields, Bloomberg

2/26/13

The Federal Communications Commission won’t vote on changes to U.S. media ownership rules until an outside group studies effects on minority broadcasters, the agency’s chairman said today.

The study will take “several weeks,” followed by public comment and a commission vote, Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. Commissioner Robert McDowell, the senior Republican on the agency, said in an e-mailed statement he wants to have a vote by summer.

The Washington-based Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, a non-profit group dedicated to equal opportunity in the mass media, will do the study, “a sensible approach to moving forward,’ Genachowski said.

Genachowski’s proposal, issued in December 2011, has been stalled amid partisan tension. Agency Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough to loosen restrictions including the ban on owners of daily newspapers holding nearby broadcast stations, and agency Democrats say the rules shouldn’t be changed before effects on minority ownership are studied.