The FCC Has Fallen Completely Flat


Those are the words of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly responding to a question about the FCC’s review of the 1996 Telecom Act. Originally, Congress mandated the Commission review the Act every two years. That was revised to every four years to give the Commission some breathing room. The Commission hasn’t even been able to meet the four-year goal and O’Rielly says that distresses him.

“We have ignored our obligations under the law. We’ve let the stations and the listeners down. O’Rielly did say the FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler has promised to get something down on this issue by June. He also said there is a strong will in Congress that there will be no change on the ownership limits issue, at least until there is a new President in place.

On the FM Chip issue, O’Rielly said he wants to be careful about any type of mandate. He understands that the FM Chip is ready to be activated in most cell phones and believes they all should be, but clearly wants to avoid the government getting involved in forcing the issue. He seemed to have confidence that the work Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan and the radio industry at large is doing will eventually lead to all service providers and phone manufacturers turning the chips on.


  1. I definitely see that the obligations of the FCC were clearly ignored. The 1996 telcom act was to allow minorities easier access to ownership of media. It was not to make Clearchannel (now iHeart) and Cumulus Media empire kings. On the TV front, It was not meant to have 1 organization own all TV stations in Lima/Findlay, OH market as well. “NBC, My Net, CBS, FOX and Findlay Daystar, are all co-owned. Only 1 exception is channel 44 WTLW, and is religious. However, keep in mind, “Channel 47” WFND-LP in Findlay, now on channel 22, is owned by Toledo Blade holdings and is using Daystar sat programming. I am not counting the 3ABN and PBS in BG.

    Is this really the way it was designed? Designed to let anyone get away with anything… even anti-trust issues?


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