All Media is Local

There's an FCC workshop on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 from 3:00-7:30 p.m. at the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida. Here's why this concerns you:

If you've heard the old joke about having hundreds of TV channels but nothing's ever on and you've witnessed it for yourself, or complained about how thin the newspaper has become, or are sick of the same ten songs being played over and over again on the radio, then you should care that the media landscape can still get worse.

Media businesses, like all businesses, have to sell their product. That makes sense. But why sell something that sucks? Wouldn't that lead people elsewhere for information and entertainment? The media, like any other business that grows "too big to fail," has gotten too big to produce anything worthwhile. It's the Walmartization of our entire country. Now the media wants to get even bigger.

In 1975, a law was put in effect that prohibited TV stations from buying newspapers in the same city. Tampa is one of just a few cities where a company, Media General, already owned both a TV station (WFLA) and a newspaper (The Tampa Tribune) pre-1975. So Media General was allowed to keep their company as it was, but no other company was allowed to do the same from then on.

Currently the FCC is in the process of deciding if they should deregulate (overturn) this "cross-ownership" law. And since Tampa is one of those few cities in the country that already has cross-ownership in action, the FCC is looking to us for our input. Do we like our Tribune-WFLA combo? Their shared reporters, shared stories? Are they giving us all the information we need or have they gotten a little soft and spread too thin?

Let your voice be heard on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 from 3:00-7:30 p.m. at the FCC workshop at USF's Marshall Student Center. You'll get two minutes to say whether or not you want cross-ownership to happen, and what you think of the media in your town.

The FCC commissioners won't be in attendance, but staffers from their Media Bureau will be present as well as folks from our local media. And the workshop will be streamed live on Questions from the Internet audience can be submitted throughout the course of the workshop via email to and via Twitter using the hash tag #MoWksp.


  1. Ummmm we already did this about 3 years ago at the Performing Arts Center. The Education Channel, Public Access Channels are not even being used they way they should. Tampa should be producing hundreds of hours of original programming a week we have that kind of City with amazing things going on. OUR OWN COUNTY DEFUNDED Education, Government and Public Access Channels and deemed them NOT WORTHY. This stinks.

  2. Yep, I was there 3 years ago when the actual FCC was in town discussing this stuff. And I'm a former member of community access. Think about the people who defunded community access, though: politicians who don't want folks on the fringe having a voice, not even on the community level. National, local or otherwise, we the people need to have more control over the media - not the other way around as it is now where the media controls what we see, hear, know and learn.