Odds are (unless you live in central Florida) that you probably don’t know much about Bright House Networks. The cable company serves about 2 million TV and internet customers, mostly in Florida and also in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and California. But in the many eddies rippling through the cable world after the sinking of the Comcast/TWC merger, this one regional provider may be poised to make or break some pretty big deals.
Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps has a long history of trying to support consumer interests. He has been an outspoken critic of media consolidation for many years. Back in 2011, he was the lone dissenting vote on the Comcast/NBC merger and recently, he’s been calling on the FCC to reclassify broadband ISPs and fix net neutrality ASAP.
Poor Kevin Martin. The Senate is well on its way towards killing his proposal to let newspapers get all freaky and consolidate with television and radio stations. Martin shouldn’t be too surprised: this is exactly what happened the last time a FCC Chairman tried to ram media consolidation down our throats.
The Federal Communications Commission just approved Chairman Kevin Martin’s plan to shred 32-year-old rules that block media conglomerates from controlling both a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. The spectacled Chairman won on 3-2 party line vote, having failed to lure either Democratic commissioner with last-minute changes that will prevent the Commission from approving mergers in small media outlets that host profitable papers.
Bill Moyers produced an excellent segment on media consolidation and its disproportionate impact on minorities. African Americans and Hispanics account for over a quarter of the population, but own just 33 of the nation’s 1,350 television stations, and only 6% of radio stations. According to Melody Spann-Cooper, owner of Chicago’s only black-owned radio station:
Radio has moved from being in the business of empowering and educating people to Wall Street, to making money. And that’s not the big corporate conglomerates, you know, that’s not their fault. They were allowed to do this.