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FCC hearing details scant

Commission rebuked for short notice

Four members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation complained on Friday to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin that he has not provided enough advance notice for the next public hearing on the contentious subject of media consolidation.

The hearing, skedded for this Friday in Harrisburg, Pa., was announced on Feb. 8 “without a schedule or location, which does not allow enough time for interested people to spread the word about the hearing,” the lawmakers wrote to Martin. “With the hearing taking place less than a week from now, the FCC has still not posted the location or details of the event, including the time of public testimony.”

They questioned why the hearing was set for a weekday rather than a weekend and why it must start before 6 p.m. Starting earlier during the day, they said, “will severely limit participation, particularly when those who may want to take time off of work haven’t been given all the necessary details in a timely fashion.

“As this will likely be the only opportunity for Harrisburg residents, and people across Pennsylvania, to speak personally to the FCC and provide input about media ownership, we are greatly concerned that you aren’t providing adequate opportunity for public involvement.”

Reps. Mike Doyle, Tim Holden, Robert Brady and Allyson Schwartz, all Democrats, urged Martin, a Republican appointee, to publicize details of the hearing as soon as possible and to provide more notice on future hearings. The FCC is supposed to hold a total of six around the country on media consolidation. The Harrisburg hearing will be the third.

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