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Broadcast Ownership Regulation in a Border Era: An Analysis of how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is Shaping the Debate on Broadcast Ownership Limits
Unformatted Document Text:  13 the market. “The first step toward a more contemporary regulatory regime is to strengthen our understanding of the media market. What media choices do consumers have? What are the business realities of different delivery systems? How is innovation in technology affected by FCC regulation?” (Federal Communications Commission, 2001, October 29, p. 1) Clearly, Chairman Powell had already defined the boundaries within which the Working Group he was appointing would operate. This is interesting because at least two of the seven presenters at a Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies held by the FCC on the same day that the creation of the Working Group was announced urged a more inclusive approach. Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies The roundtable was scheduled for the afternoon of October 29, 2001 with two panels, the first on “Ownership Policies and Competition” and the second, “Ownership Policies, Diversity and Localism” (Federal Communications Commission, 2001, October 29). On the first panel Mark N. Cooper, representing the Consumer Federation of America had begun to challenge the way the issue was being addressed from an almost exclusively economic perspective. In the closing paragraph of his prepared statement Cooper made the following point. This roundtable discussion, coming at the start of a rulemaking process, focuses on economic markets, but the Commission will have to go far beyond that limited concern to faithfully execute its responsibilities under existing Congressional directives that require it to promote a vibrant marketplace of ideas. (Cooper, 2001, p. 3) The transcript of the roundtable shows that Douglas Gomery, of the University of Maryland picked up on this line of thinking when he challenged Stanley Besen, an economist on the first panel, who had made a statement that: “If one is going to talk about diversity, it seems to me one has some burden to try to introduce an element of rigor into this” (Federal Communications Commission, 2001, October 29, p.85). The ensuing exchange is revealing.

Authors: Blevins, Jeffrey. and Brown, Duncan.
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13
the market. “The first step toward a more contemporary regulatory
regime is to strengthen our understanding of the media market.
What media choices do consumers have? What are the business
realities of different delivery systems? How is innovation in
technology affected by FCC regulation?” (Federal
Communications Commission, 2001, October 29, p. 1)

Clearly, Chairman Powell had already defined the boundaries within which the Working
Group he was appointing would operate. This is interesting because at least two of the seven
presenters at a Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies held by the FCC on the same day that
the creation of the Working Group was announced urged a more inclusive approach.
Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies
The roundtable was scheduled for the afternoon of October 29, 2001 with two panels, the
first on “Ownership Policies and Competition” and the second, “Ownership Policies, Diversity
and Localism” (Federal Communications Commission, 2001, October 29).
On the first panel Mark N. Cooper, representing the Consumer Federation of America
had begun to challenge the way the issue was being addressed from an almost exclusively
economic perspective. In the closing paragraph of his prepared statement Cooper made the
following point.
This roundtable discussion, coming at the start of a rulemaking
process, focuses on economic markets, but the Commission will
have to go far beyond that limited concern to faithfully execute its
responsibilities under existing Congressional directives that require
it to promote a vibrant marketplace of ideas. (Cooper, 2001, p. 3)
The transcript of the roundtable shows that Douglas Gomery, of the University of Maryland
picked up on this line of thinking when he challenged Stanley Besen, an economist on the first
panel, who had made a statement that: “If one is going to talk about diversity, it seems to me one
has some burden to try to introduce an element of rigor into this” (Federal Communications
Commission, 2001, October 29, p.85). The ensuing exchange is revealing.


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