FCC Relaxation of Media Consolidation Rules

Media 07.17,03

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we write to ask for your support to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) recent decision to ease media ownership restrictions.

The 180 member organizations of the LCCR coalition believe in the “free market of ideas.” We also believe that the health of our nation’s democracy depends on the continued existence of a diversity of viewpoints in the public domain. Diversity of voices, not merely a variety of programming, is what matters.

That’s why LCCR member organizations, including groups like the NAACP, NOW, National Council of La Raza, NAPALC, NCAI and the National Partnership for Women and Families, strongly oppose the FCC’s decision to relax the rules that have historically restricted the nation’s largest media conglomerates from growing even bigger.

The FCC debate focused on market efficiencies and technological development to the exclusion of promoting competition, a diversity of voices, and local community engagement. We’ve already seen the future of media consolidation and it’s a problem. After the passage of ’96 Telecommunications Act, for example, Clear Channel Communications went from 40 to approximately 1200 radio stations. Instead of local ownership with a diversity of views, we now have homogenized, cookie-cutter media divorced from local concerns.

In addition, minority ownership in TV and radio has dropped substantially at a time when these populations are growing. People of color represent less than 4% of radio and TV owners. Latinos own less than 2% of radio and less than .1% of TV stations.

The FCC’s decision to relax the rules seriously threatens the likelihood of getting diverse viewpoints through the airwaves. The airwaves belong to the people, not to big business. If the FCC won’t protect our voices, then Congress needs to step in. Accordingly, we are asking your support to repeal the FCC’s recent decision to ease media ownership restrictions.


Wade Henderson
Executive Director