Takes aim at changes in media consolidation

Three senior lawmakers have asked the federal government’s main investigative body to look into charges that media consolidation has reduced opportunities for independent producers and programmers.

In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) wrote: “It is important that we understand the current media environment, the reasons for the drastic decrease in independent programming and the impact government laws and regulations have on the media industry.”

In the letter, the three senators say that some 50% of primetime television programming was independently produced in 1989 but only about 18% is now. Also, the solons said indie radio producers have reported “difficulty getting carried on radio stations, or if carried, under unfavorable conditions.”

“With this in mind, we request that the GAO study the state of programming in the media industry and the factors influencing the programming decisions, including government regulation, across the television, radio and subscription video industries (wire-based and satellite),” the senators wrote.

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