Case Studies: FCC Media Ownership Rules
CHALLENGE: In 2003, in an increasing climate of deregulation, Michael Powell, son of Colin Powell and Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced a plan to relax ownership rules for media companies to allow more media consolidation. There was outcry around the nation from Republicans and Democrats on what impact this might have in our society. The FCC decided to hold five public hearings across the nation to get citizen feedback. KYS was hired by Media Alliance, a local nonprofit, to help coordinate the event and manage media relations.
STRATEGY: KYS focused on reaching out to the strong network of alternative media in the San Francisco Bay Area to gain exposure for this important hearing. The other four events were unable to gain much media coverage as the story received little coverage by the TV networks favorable towards the rules change.
RESULT: The Honorable Jonathan S. Adelstein, of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), presided over a public hearing (April 2003) on the FCC’s pending historic ruling (6/02/03) on media ownership rules. Held in San Francisco City Hall on a Saturday, twenty distinguished panelists and over four hundred citizens attended and passionately spoke out on the need for a vibrant, diverse and independent media. KYS assisted with the coordination of the hearing and oversaw media relations. In addition to facilitating an op ed placement by Commissioner Adelstein, (SF Chronicle 4/24/03), KYS secured a live, on-air appearance for Commissioner Adelstein on newly, independent KRON-TV. We also successfully attracted the first front-page story in the nation on media ownership rules (SF Chronicle 5/12/03). Finally, KYS successfully attracted more media coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area than all other cities combined that held public hearings – mostly alternative media. Co-sponsors included Media Alliance, the University of San Francisco, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and Hastings Law School.
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