FCC Media Ownership Rules: Suggested Readings

If you don’t work in the field of FCC regulation and want to familiarize yourself with some of the issues raised by the FCC’s media ownership rules, here’s a lightly annotated list of suggested readings.  There’s everything from blog posts to books.  This list was compiled by Dean Smith, a research fellow in the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, and by Common Cause.

  • Broadcasting & Cable Magazine does the best job of reporting on this issue week in and week out. Commentary pieces tend to be of the pro-business, scrap-the-rules variety. This link will take you to a search page at B&C with recent articles.
  • The Benton Foundation does a great job of aggregating stories by a wide variety of news sources. Commentary pieces it chooses to post tend to be of the strengthen-the-rules variety. This link will take you to a list of recent articles posted on Benton’s website.
  • The New York Times does a spotty job covering FCC issues, but does play it down the middle. This link will take you to an NYT search page with recent articles.
  • Broadcast & Cable recently reported that the FCC chairman is pushing to issue a new Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) as soon as possible.
  • Broadcast & Cable had a good article last year summarizing the contents of the new NPRM.
  • The actual NPRM is on the FCC’s Web site. (Notice that there are also some statements from three of the commissioners staking out their positions at the top.
  • Because the uproar last time the FCC suggested changing the ownership rules led several members of Congress to introduce bills to stop the FCC from changing the rules, the Congressional Research Service prepared the two reports below. As always, they are well done and are informative (and not long).

Two of the most recent FCC-commissioned studies, issued in 2011. The first covers the full range of rules, and the second focuses on television, including the cross-ownership rules:

These are the formal statements some of our panelists have made about the FCC’s ownership rules:

These suggestions from Common Cause broaden the debate beyond ownership issues:

If you’re looking for something more academic, Common Cause suggests these books:

  • Susan Crawford’s Captive Audience.
  • Tim Wu’s The Master Switch.