Solon sez it's the first in a series on media consolidation

WASHINGTON — The topic of media ownership will get further airing next week when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) holds a congressional hearing on massive consolidation in the radio biz, which has allowed Clear Channel alone to build a stable of more than 1,200 radio stations.

McCain, who chairs the influential Senate Commerce Committee, on announced plans for the hearing Thursday. He said it will be the first in a series on media consolidation.

Many Capitol Hill solons are paying increasing attention to a review of media ownership rules being conducted by the Federal Communications Commission. If the rules are loosened, the big TV broadcasters could be allowed to follow Clear Channel’s lead and buy up many more TV stations.

Multiple outlets possible

If the rules are relaxed, media companies also could own multiple outlets in one market, including newspapers, radio and TV stations.

Also Thursday, the FCC announced the date of the agency’s sole public hearing on the unprecedented number of ownership rules up for grabs. The hearing will be held Feb. 27 in Richmond, Va. The precise location has yet to be determined.

Media consolidation has dominated conversation at the NATPE confab this week, with many attributing the downturn in the TV syndication biz to vertical integration. They say things will only get worse if more rules are overturned.

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