The U.S. Senate voted to rescind new FCC regulations that would allow large media companies to own more local media outlets. Supporters of the ruling, large companies like Fox and Viacom, contend they need more freedom to purchase local media companies to compete with the growing number of offerings from satellite, cable, and Internet sources. Opponents, however, fear relaxed regulations would cut local coverage and homogenize viewpoints.
Besides the implications of fewer independently owned media outlets on our general news consumption, the ruling would have implications on small business. Rhonda Abrams warned of the effects in a May 2003 column, saying consolidation in the market would result in:
* higher advertising rates
* reduced small-business coverage
* less innovation, making it harder for small businesses to have their products and services covered by the media.
Less diversity, more centralized news coverage, and fewer opportunities for small businesses to promote themselves in their communities. Let's hope the Senate keeps up the good fight.