Concern about Media Monopolies Plays in Peoria

Last week I spoke with a media reporter from the Peoria Journal-Star, Steve Tarter, about the upcoming FCC media ownership rules review. He dedicated his Sunday column to the matter, and did a nice job following up some details about Central Illinois media owners:

“You’ve already got a situation where two of the area stations are joined at the hip (WMBD-TV, Channel 31, and WYZZ-TV, Channel 43). The bottom line to all of this is that you’ve going to have less diversity – not more. …
‘Sinclair Broadcasting (which owns Channel 43, the Fox affiliate in Bloomington) has dropped local news departments at some of its stations around the country,’ said Riismandel, pointing to the chain’s stations in places like Tallahassee, Winston-Salem and St. Louis.”

You can read the whole column on-line at the PJStar website.

I’m glad to see that a local paper in a small city is willing to run this kind of column that’s critical of the media establishment. It’s only too bad that the story gained momentum as the FCC’s comment deadline drew to a close. But it’s clear that’s how FCC Chair Michael Powell wanted it to happen, since he and the other commissioners had the power to extend the deadlines in order to get more comprehensive public input. Obviously, there is no sincere interest in hearing from the public.

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