Media Consolidation

Who owns the media has a huge impact on the stories that get covered in our communities.

Today absentee corporations own more and more of our media. Focused only on the bottom line, they are cutting journalists, gutting newsrooms and replacing meaningful debate with celebrity gossip and junk news. And many of these corporations are dodging the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules to snap up more outlets and create media monopolies in markets throughout the country.

The more independent outlets a community has, the more different viewpoints will be presented on the air. But what happens when there’s no one left to compete? When one company owns everything in your town, it can cut staff and not worry about getting scooped by a competitor. The fewer reporters there are on the streets, the less journalism there is on the news. The fewer DJs there are at your local radio station, the more automated computers and pre-programmed playlists take over.

The FCC is supposed to preserve a competitive media landscape and ensure that broadcasters are good stewards of the public airwaves. The agency sets limits on how much of your local media one company can own. These limits are supposed to encourage stations to compete with one another to provide quality journalism. But powerful media companies have the FCC's ear, and over the years it has become easier for these companies to snatch up more of our local airwaves.

Our ownership chart reveals exactly who owns what. It’s time to change what’s wrong with this picture. We need the FCC to serve communities, not corporations.

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Resources

  • Free Press Action Fund Written Testimony in STELA Hearing

    On April 1, 2014, Free Press Action Fund Policy Director Matt Wood testified before the Senate about the importance of preserving and expanding consumer safeguards in the video market.

    April 1, 2014
  • #OaklandVoices: The Facts About Media Inequality in the Bay Area

    The Bay Area is the nation’s sixth-largest television market and fourth-largest radio market. But just a tiny handful of media companies own almost all of the media outlets in this region. Click the link below to learn more.

    January 8, 2014
  • Cease to Resist: How the FCC's Failure to Enforce Its Rules Created a New Wave of Media Consolidation

    The U.S. broadcast television industry is in the midst of a wave of consolidation, which one longtime industry insider described as “the biggest wave ... in the history of television.” Corporations are exploiting loopholes in the Federal Communications Commission's ownership rules to snap up TV stations across the country. And if the FCC doesn't act, the damage will be irreversible. To learn more, read the new Free Press report, Cease to Resist: How the FCC's Failure to Enforce Its Rules Created a New Wave of Media Consolidation.
    October 17, 2013
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News from Around the Web

  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal Despised More Than Ever by Consumer Groups, Writers Guild

    The Wrap
    April 11, 2014

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable told federal regulators that their proposed $45 billion merger would mean better service for customers, technological innovation and even more Internet for the poor. Critics didn't see it that way.

  • Chuck Schumer Has Family Ties to Massive Comcast Deal

    Huffington Post
    April 11, 2014

    Charles Schumer, a top Senate Democrat and member of the body's antitrust subcommittee, appeared to give his blessing to Comcast's purchase of Time Warner Cable, but did not mention that his brother was involved in the mega-deal.

  • Consolidation Critics Tell Wheeler to Block Comcast/TWC

    Broadcasting & Cable
    April 11, 2014

    In the wake of Comcast's filing of the proposed Time Warner Cable merger with the FCC April 8, 50 public advocacy groups including Free Press, Public Knowledge and NOW, wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to oppose the deal as "unthinkable" gatekeeper power over the Internet.

Learn More

  • Covert Consolidation

    When you turn on the nightly news, you expect to find competing viewpoints and different perspectives from one station to the next. But in communities across the country, stations that were once fierce competitors have cut staff and merged their newsrooms, in many cases airing the same content on multiple stations in the same market. You can try to change the channel, but all you'll see is the exact same newscast.

  • Rupert Murdoch Scandal

    There are many reasons the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has riveted public attention around the world. It's a story that features all of the classic elements: crimes, betrayal, abuse of power and even a cover-up.

  • Fake News

    How much of our local news is propaganda? Stations are slipping sponsored “video news releases” — promotional segments designed to look like objective news reports — into their regular programming. And increasingly they’re using these VNRs without identifying them as such. This deception is illegal under federal law and Federal Communications Commission rules.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good