Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Live from the SCL: Community speakers

Commissioners Copps and Adelstein are now taking notes and listening to a number of speakers who represent community interests.

(Broadband users, watch the live stream here). Here is the list of individuals who spoke at the hearing and their affiliation:
  • Jean Godden, Seattle City Council
  • John Carlson, KVI talk show host and founder of WA Policy Center
  • Mike Fancher, the Seattle Times
  • Robert Jeffery, Colors NW
  • Mark Emmert, President, University of Washington
  • Diane Lachel, Tacoma Power's Click Network
  • John Sandifier, AFTRA
  • Joel Kelsey, Consumers Union
  • Mai Nguyen, Minority Executive Directors Association
  • David Groves, WA State Labor Council
  • Kathy Gill, UW Department of Communication
Some notes: John Carlson, who was second to speak, mentioned Entercom's snagging of Rush Limbaugh away from KVI as an example of of a big company deciding which distributors may syndicate its "talent". (He actually referred to Rush Limbaugh as talent). But oddly enough he never referred to Limbaugh, Fisher Broadcasting (owner of KVI), or Entercom by name.

Some of the important points made by the speakers:
  • Family owned media companies are in danger of being gobbled up if big corporations get the rules that they want from the FCC
  • It's not possible to have world-class educational institutions unless there is a free flow of ideas. Media consolidation hampers the free flow of ideas.
  • Open debate is crucial and it doesn't happen unless the press is free and independent. Democracy and diversity of opinion depends on a diverse media and decentralized ownership.
  • The local news isn't truly "local" when a small number of companies and their stations have control over a huge market.
  • Greedy telephone and cable providers want to be the media gatekeepers, with ownership of the means of delivery and the ability to decide what content should get priority.
  • Too much media is "absentee owned" by big national or international conglomerates who dictate broadcast programming from afar.
  • Newspapers should continue to be prohibited from gobbling up TV stations and creating media monopolies controlled by own parent company.
  • Coverage of labor issues and matters important to union members has suffered thanks to extreme media consolidation and corporate control
  • The current owners of media outlets appear to be more concerned about satisfying their advertisers and shareholders instead of practicing responsible journalism
  • Preserving net neutrality and resisting network discrimination is a matter of serious consequence. The marketplace of ideas is what is at stake.
Next we're going to hear from concerned citizens.

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