FCC Sets Next Media Ownership Workshop For Jan. 12

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The Federal Communications Commission will hold its next media ownership workshop on Jan. 12. The workshop, divided into two panels, will focus on financial and economic conditions affecting broadcasters and the institutions that lend them money.

The first panel will feature small-market broadcasters or smaller broadcasters in larger markets, as well as lenders. The second will team lenders with larger or larger-market broadcasters.

Among the topics of conversation will be what effect ownership rules have on broadcasters' financial health, to what degree lenders take those rules into account, what the affect of economic changes has been, and whether they are cyclical or systemic, whether the FCC needs to balance that financial condition with other policy goals and how it should do that.

The FCC says it is encouraging the public to weigh in at the hearing, which will be at FCC headquarters in Washington.

Witnesses have not been announced.

The FCC is required in 2010 to conduct a quadrennial review of its media ownership rules to determine whether they are still "necessary in the public interest." Some argue that congressional charter means getting rid of whatever rules are no longer needed--the review stems from the deregulatory 1996 Telecommunications Act. Others argue that directive can also mean adding or tightening the ownership rules.