FCC in hot water over indecency and media ownership
A federal appeals court is examining the FCC's wacky policies on televised instances of fleeting profanity, read the story here and don't miss the video of this filthy court hearing. The judges present at the hearing appeared unwilling to buy the commission's BS, so I'm keeping a candle lit for free speech. In the meantime, at least one TV network has followed in WFMU's footsteps by offering web-only content (click here to watch the SNL sketch "Dick in a Box" on You Tube) that is artistically unrestricted by whatever the FCC might fancy to label as indecent.
On the media ownership front, the FCC recently held a public forum in Nashville where many artists and regular joes voiced their concerns regarding consolidation. The feds have received an outpouring of public comments regarding the possible relaxation of media ownership rules, and considering the slew of ownership studies that were just made public (including some of the previously-suppressed FCC studies demonstrating the problems associated with consolidation that were uncovered by Senator Boxer earlier this year, and a new study put together by the Future of Music Coalition highlighting many of the same key issues), it will be mighty difficult for the commission's republicans to justify extending consolidation rules.
Satellite Radio merger in the works?
Both Sirius and XM have been pumping some serious dough into marketing and the hiring of high profile hosts like Oprah, Martha, and Howard. This spending is outweighing revenue, and Sirius is interested in merging with XM, since both companies have similar expenses (plus, an independent research firm found that consumers can't tell the difference between the two satellite radio beasts anyway). A merger might trigger anti-trust alarms with the feds. But then again...
FCC approves most extensive phone company merger in history
The largest telecom company in the U.S. (AT&T) just purchased the nation's third largest company (BellSouth) with FCC approval. AT&T will now control 1/3 of all land lines in the U.S., and lay off about 10,000 workers. On the upside (?), the deal included net neutrality protections for (only) 2 years (but FCC Chairman Martin wants to make sure they never slip up on that again), along with an agreement to provide high speed internet to consumers at a rate of $19.95/mo.
Warren Bell appointed to CPB board
During the congressional recess, President Bush sneakily appointed conservative TV producer Warren Bell to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's board of directors. After the uproar caused by former CPB director Ken Tomlinson's politically motivated ethics violations, some are worried that Bell's appointment may not have been the wisest.