NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Competition, Not Government Should Decide Media Regulations

April 16, 2003

Current broadcast-ownership rules strictly regulate business expansion, with caps on market share and prohibitions against corporations having sizable cross-ownership stakes in newspaper, radio and TV markets. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell rightly thinks that competition, not government, should decide such business matters, and the FCC is set to release new rules in this regard by June.

The Washington Times editorializes that it is no mere coincidence that two of the companies handcuffed by the current caps are Fox Television and Clear Channel, America's largest owner of radio stations.

  • Fox, with its refreshing lack of a leftist bias, has been gobbling up market share from the big three networks and CNN.
  • Clear Channel, which operates approximately 1,200 radio stations nationwide, has ruffled some "mainstream" media feathers with the pro-war slant and conservative disposition of many of its on-air personalities.

These two enterprises are big because they are popular, says the Times; they are popular because they offer consumers the only major alternative programming to the dominant liberal media outlets. Despite growing demand for Fox and Clear Channel, current media-ownership rules stop them from expanding, thus limiting their voice.

Source: Editorial, "Broadcast Deregulation Needed," Washington Times, April 16, 2003.


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