In a New York Times editorial today, the Commission chair makes his case for modifying the cross-ownership rule for the largest markets only. Martin wrote:
A company that owns a newspaper in one of the 20 largest cities in the country should be permitted to purchase a broadcast TV or radio station in the same market.Martin told journalists on a conference call Tuesday morning that he hoped the modest reform he was proposing would address the concerns of critics opposed to any change.
The ban on newspapers owning a broadcast station in their local markets may end up hurting the quality of news and the commitment of news organizations to their local communities. Newspapers in financial difficulty often have little choice but to scale back news gathering to cut costs. Allowing cross-ownership may help to forestall the erosion in local news coverage by enabling companies that own both newspapers and broadcast stations to share some costs.
An open letter to Kevin Martin: People understand threat of big media; so should FCC chairman.