The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced this week that it was going to look into its rules on media ownership, primarily how many radio and television stations and newspapers and cable systems one company can own in a market.
This announcement came five days after Google announced the introduction of Google TV, a platform that would allow people who had the latest generation of TV sets to connect directly to the internet, to surf the web, and use Facebook and Twitter as they watch video programming... including TV network programming.
TV sets that connect directly to the web will eventually disintermediate local TV and radio stations and cable systems, just like craigslist.com and the web has ruined the dead-tree newspaper business.
TV station signals that don't travel through coaxial or fiber optic cables are received via rabbit ears and roof antennae, which are as up-to-date technologies as buggy whips, and are headed for the same scrap piles that are also filled with typewriters and dial telephones.
Passing regulations about how many radio and TV stations a legal entity can own is like passing regulations about how much leather can be used in making buggy whips or how many typewriters someone can own.
I guess the bureaucrats need to have something to do. If they can't clean up oil spills, then maybe they can regulate buggy whips.
Until he retired in 2002, Charlie Warner was Vice President of AOL's Interactive Marketing division. Before joining AOL, he was the Goldenson Endowed Professor at the Missouri Journalism School where he taught media management and sales, and he created and ran the annual Management Seminar for News Executives. Charlie can be contacted at email@example.com.
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