Archive | January, 2003

Lies and Damn Lies

A small blip on today’s Associated Press radar: “Clear Channel Defends Size of Company”

“WASHINGTON – The head of a major radio company is taking aim at charges that his company engages in anti-competitive behavior.

Lowry Mays of Clear Channel Communications told a Senate panel that the competition in the radio industry is “robust.”

He says his company is large, with more than 1,200 radio stations, and he acknowledges more could be acquired in the future. But Mays stresses big isn’t necessarily bad.

Also, Mays insists his company has “zero tolerance” for “payola,” payments to radio stations to promote artists or get songs played on the air. …”

Did Mays say this with a straight face? I’ll have to check the video.

May “zero tolerance” for “payola” is like Dick Cheney’s “zero tolerance” for Enron’s accounting practices, or Manuel Noriega’s “zero tolerance” for cocaine trafficking.

Now I’m dying to hear the Senators’ reactions to being yanked so hard and blatantly.

Continue Reading

Economist Fawns Over Mikey Powell

The Economist conducts a brief, but fawning profile of FCC Chair Michael Powell. Their loves stems from the estimation that

“Unusually for a regulator, Mr Powell seems to want, gradually, to write the FCC out of the game. For that, he deserves more respect than Americans usually shower on their benighted government officials.”

All I can say is that I’ve tackled the illogic of this notion, and the double-speak term of “de-regulation” in general, before:

The communications industry is scared of nothing more than a free market. A free market would decimate the local bell monopolies, would kill cable companies, and would decimate the broadcast industry. Every single one of these industries absolutely relies on the federal government to stake out boundaries and territories, allowing only a few to have such prizes as broadcast licenses, while keeping the millions of would-be competitors out. The last thing any commercial FM wants is for the FM band to double or triple in size letting a hundred more competitors onto the airwaves. Man, they need regulation to keep raking in those monopoly profits.

Continue Reading

Real Citizens at the FCC? OK, let’s count 1… er, 1….

The LA Times reports on “Citizens Knocking on FCC’s Door” and actually getting face time with FCC Commissioners “to discuss the arcane rules of national telecommunications policy.”

Just seeing the headline made me think, “Yes, this is the way it oughtta be.” But then reading it raised some suspicions.

The only real citizen the article cites is a self-described housewife who is lobbying the FCC on behalf of mega-telecomm SBC so that her husband won’t lose his job with the company.

See, her husband might be laid off because those pesky competitors expect SBC to make good on the requirement of the 1996 Telecomm Act that the company open acces to its monopoly-built-and-protected-lines to those competitors. SBC claims it will lose profits and have to lay off workers as a result.

It seems a little disingenuous all around, doesn’t it? Especially to anyone who is unlucky to have SBC as a phone company and see first hand how the bastards have decimated Ameritech and generally botched up customer service and broadband Internet in the name of profit.

Even putting that aside, where are the other citizens getting face time with FCC Commissioners? How many former local radio employees fired by Clear Channel? How many citizens pissed off at losing local news from their Sinclair-owned TV channel in St. Louis? None are cited by this article.

So, here we have a case of a journalist turning one example into a trend. It’s a hook in search of an actual story — a case of “let’s make news that’ll make us all feel better.”

Turning up the cynicism up a notch, Tribune Company, owner of the LA Times, would love for the public to believe that the FCC is listening to citizen’s actual concerns. Especially because Tribune’s been pushing the FCC to charge ahead on its media ownership rules review and to shunt every possible opportunity for public input. A story like this one let’s Tribune claim, “See, you don’t need extended comment deadlines or public forums. The public is getting their licks in to.”

Yeah, when they’re bankrolled by SBC or some other conglomerate (or “a retired SBC manager”).

Now don’t you feel better about the FCC?

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes