More Local Media Consolidation is a Real Possibility

By Chris Ariens 

After years of consolidation in the local TV business, the door could be open for even more.

At his first appearance on Capitol Hill as chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today that the FCC will need to look into the decades-old cross-ownership rules, where the same entity is barred in many cases from owning TV, radio and newspaper outlets in the same market.

“One of my concerns, especially in smaller markets, is that as newspapers and broadcast TV and radio stations are struggling and a lot of them are going out of business, are there ways we can help them stay in business and do what they do best which is to cover local news,” said Pai. “If it is more efficient to collect news together and distribute it on different platforms, that could help them stay in business and provide a vital source of information.”

“We definitely want to have many voices in the market,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as she questioned Pai.

“I firmly believe that our rules should match the reality of the marketplace,” said Pai.