Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Holidays

What can I say... things continue to be busy for me at my day gig. So I've had no time for blogging. But I've come up with a couple of quick holiday items to share. First, a shot I took of the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas a couple of Saturdays ago:

Happy Holidays II

And then there's this pleasant surprise from the folks at NBC. Studio 60's Christmas episode featured a group of displaced jazz musicians from New Orleans. They performed a beautiful arrangement of "Oh Holy Night," and NBC has posted an mp3 of it for FREE.

Fighting The Good Fight

I urge you to raise your glasses to Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who is trying to keep a constructive eye on the FCC.

"We write to request detailed information on the Federal
Communications Commission's plans regarding recently-announced studies to be conducted as part of the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on media ownership," Hinchey and his House colleagues wrote to Martin. "We are certainly pleased to see that the Commission is moving forward with these studies. However, we are concerned about the lack of information that has been released thus far regarding these endeavors.

"The ten FCC-commissioned studies are focused on: 1) How People Get News and Information; 2) Ownership Structure and Robustness of Media; 3) Effect of Ownership Structure and Robustness on the Quantity and Quality of TV Programming; 4) News Operations; 5) Station Ownership and Programming in Radio; 6) News Coverage of Cross-Owned Newspapers and Television Stations; 7 & 8) Minority Ownership; 9) Vertical Integration; 10) Radio Industry Review: Trends in Ownership, Format, and Finance.

Among other things, Hinchey and his six House colleagues are seeking answers from the FCC regarding: how the topics were selected; the backgrounds of the authors assigned to each of the studies; whether the agency took appropriate steps to prevent any conflicts of interests that could impact the outcome of the studies; the cost of the studies; and how the peer review process for the studies will work.

In 2003, with a Bush-appointed chairman, the FCC sought to further weaken local TV ownership limits, national TV ownership caps, and newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules. If those rules had been enacted, a single corporation would have been allowed to acquire
as many as three television stations, eight radio stations, and the only daily newspaper in a single media market. The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed that the FCC was overstepping its bounds, rejected the new rules, and remanded the issue back to the Commission, which is now reviewing the rules once again. The Court also criticized the FCC for failing to disclose parts of the new rules for public comment.

We do not need Corporate America tightening its hold on our Media. The Republican led FCC (thanks to plenty of help from Telecommunications Acts signed by Clinton and the first Bush in the 90's) will harm Democracy if left unchecked.