FCC Commissioner Attends Forum on Media Ownership

April 02, 2003

Industry leaders, activists and academics will address new FCC regulations at a Midwest Public Forum on Media Ownership to be hosted by Northwestern University School of Law on Wednesday, April 2 at 10 a.m. in Lincoln Hall at 357 E. Chicago Avenue. Michael J. Copps, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will be in attendance.

The forum, which is the first of its kind in the Midwest, is free and open to the public. Organized by students in the Media and Entertainment Law Society at Northwestern in conjunction with local media groups, the forum was developed in response to FCC Chairman Michael Powell's challenge, made at the Columbia University Forum, to "give us something we can use..[to] develop [media] ownership policies that truly serve the American Public." The forum setting will give attendees the opportunity to voice their opinions before the public and the FCC about the impact of proposed changes.

"The potential impact of the FCC's regulatory changes on the media landscape, and the free flow of information in our society, is enormous," said James Speta, professor of law who specializes in telecommunications and antitrust law and is the Media and Entertainment Law Society faculty advisor. "We feel that Chicago and the Midwest region have much to contribute to the public debate on this issue."

Academics, industry representatives, media and community activists, labor representatives, and others will offer proposed solutions that will stand up to legal scrutiny, and enhance the FCC's stated values of diversity, localism and competition. A full schedule of speakers and topics is listed below. Audience questions and answers and public comment will follow each session.

10:00-10:30 - “Media and Democracy: The History of Media Regulation”

  • How the six current regulations on media ownership came to be and what they were meant to achieve
  • What other regulations including the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time Doctrine were designed to achieve, and why they were eliminated

Craig LaMay - Associate Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Gregory Pitts - Professor, Bradley University
Steven Wildman - Professor and Director of Quello Center on Law and Communications, Michigan State University
Gretchen Soderlund - Assistant Professor and Mellon Fellow in Communication and Society, Division of Social Sciences, University of Chicago

11:15-12:15 - “Media Input: The Effect of Media Consolidation on Access”

  • How media consolidation affects the marketplace of idea
  • Who has access to the media, including getting their views expressed in both content and advertising
  • How media consolidation affects the political process

Richard Roth - Associate Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Sheldon Rampton - Editor, PR Watch
Dave Crowl - Senior Vice President, Midwest, Clear Channel Radio
Andrew Meppen - Council Member, Writiers Guild of America - East
Chellie Pingree - President, Common Cause
Shaun Sheehan - Tribune Company
Barbara Popovic - Executive Director, CAN-TV

1:00-2:00 - Lunch

2:00-3:00 - “Media Output: The Effect of Media Consolidation on Programming Diversity”

  • How media consolidation affects what is released or distributed through the media


Ed Marszewski - Lumpen Magazine
Jeff Holmes - Street-Level Youth Media
Leo Henning - Vice President/General Manager, WGEM-AM/FM/TV/Quincy Herald-Whig, Quincy IL
Tom Carpenter - National Director, News & Broadcasting, AFTRA
Zemira Jones - President/General Manager, ABC Radio Chicago

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