Two members of the FCC rolled into NYC last week for a town hall-style meeting aimed at gauging public opinion on media consolidation. The feds are considering a relaxation of the media ownership laws that prevent one company from owning newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations in the same market. As expected, these meetings have generated widespread public outcry for the feds to maintain current ownership restrictions.
Although the two commissioners in attendance, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, are both clearly against consolidation (in addition to being the FCC's only democrats), this series of public hearings are a very wise PR move on their part. It will be mighty difficult for the commission's pro-consolidation republicans to justify relaxing ownership rules while also considering the public's concerns about big media. Homogenized sounds on the radio, masked advertisements in TV news, and negative portrayals of minorities are all issues that the public correlates with media consolidation.
Lucky for you, the WFMU Street Team was on the scene to record last week's public meeting in all of its glory. [ Download the proceedings ] (real audio, 28 MB)
This sucker is about 3 hours long, which may seem a tad daunting... until you read through the shortlist of highlights I have lovingly provided below. If you don't have the stomach for 3 hours of testimony from an angry, raucous, leftist mob, fast forward to these crucial moments:
FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein's comments - 14:32
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps' comments - 26:16 (he sounds just like Maxwell Smart!)
An elderly lady sticks it to The Man - 1:27:42
Afrika Bambaattaa (!) gives testimony - 2:05:09
Take-the-airwaves-away-from-those-obscene-media-molesters rant - 2:35:28
Well-spoken teen waxes eloquent: hip-hop on the radio and institutionalized power hierarchies - 2:37:55