FCC Angers All Sides With New Media Rules

Cable companies fume at limits, and senators protest relaxed regs
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 7:05 AM CST
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin speaks during a hearing on localism, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007, at the FCC headquarters in Washington. Federal regulators on Wednesday, Oct....   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The FCC is set to push through new rules on media ownership today, to the consternation of everyone from telecoms to free-speech advocates, writes the Wall Street Journal. The commission will introduce two new regulations: one will allow media companies to buy both newspapers and television stations in the top 20 markets, and the other will limit the market shares of any single cable companies to 30% of the market.

Kevin Martin's tenure as chairman of the FCC has drawn uncommon bipartisan disapproval: yesterday 25 senators from both parties warned him that they would introduce legislation to block the media ownership plan. As for the cable companies that expected Bush-style laissez-faire business policy, they find that the chairman is unexpectedly interventionist. None of this is stopping Martin, who claims his unpopularity is proof he's succeeding.