Fighting 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.

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • FCC Approves Sinclair-Allbritton Deal Minus Shell Games

    July 24, 2014

    Washington — On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved Sinclair Broadcast Group's $985 million acquisition of several Allbritton TV stations, along with NewsChannel 8 in Washington. The final deal is far different from the one Sinclair initially proposed in July 2013. And today’s FCC approval only came after Sinclair was forced to alter the deal in response to opposition by Free Press.

  • Free Press Action Fund Urges Congress to Reject the AT&T-DirecTV Merger

    June 24, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- In testimony before the Senate on Tuesday, Free Press Action Fund Policy Director Matt Wood will speak out against AT&T’s bid for DirecTV, calling out the phone giant’s failure to deliver on promises to provide affordable broadband to more customers and regions.
  • Sinclair Abandons Shell Company in Television Ownership Ruse

    May 30, 2014

    WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Sinclair Broadcast Group told the Federal Communications Commission it would abandon its plans to illegally control multiple stations in the Charleston, S.C., and Birmingham, Ala., markets. The abandoned transactions were part of a $985 million deal with Allbritton Communications involving Sinclair's acquisition of nine television stations and NewsChannel 8. 

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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

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  • 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.

  • Money, Media and Elections

    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision launched a new era of big-money politics. The wealthiest 1 percent now has even more power to pick and choose our nation’s leaders. And they’re spending the bulk of this money on televised political ads designed to mislead voters. (Click here to see Free Press' infographic depicting this dysfunctional dynamic.)

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good