THE ISSUE: The Federal Communications Commission will vote June 2 on "overhauling rules that govern ownership of newspapers and television and radio stations. "

Current ownership rules prevent mergers between major television networks and limit the number of TV and radio stations a company can own in a market. The rules also prohibit any single company from owning TV stations that reach more than 35 percent of U.S. households or owning a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same city.


  • FCC Chairman Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell.
  • FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, one of two FCC Democrats, who is touring the country to educate people on this issue.
  • FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, FCC Democrat, who is traveling with Copps.
  • Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, who has encouraged Powell to ignore requests to delay the vote or make any details of proposed changes public in advance.

WHAT IS AT STAKE: Noam Chomsky, Ted Turner and Sens. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota have all warned against easing media ownership restrictions, potentially putting control of television, newspapers and radios in the hands of just a few giant media companies.
"The country is really standing on a cliff when it comes to media concentration," Wyden said. "When you go over that cliff you are going to be fundamentally changing what this country is about, and not for the better."

"Most people in this country have no idea what's about to happen to them even though their very democracy is at stake," Adelstein said.

Media companies, and FCC Chairman Michael Powell, contend that the current rules are outdated and hurt business.


  • Call FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or send him an email telling him that you share his concerns and support his efforts to protect our democracy from the threats posed by media consolidation.
  • Call FCC Chairman Michael Powell at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or send him an email telling him he should delay the media ownership vote or make public in advance details of proposed changes.
  • Contact your elected officials and tell them to put public pressure on Michael Powell to do what is right for the country, and not just for big business.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper, expressing your views on this issue.

In the words of FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein:
It's critical for us to hear from the public before we act. But to comment on these vital issues, the American public and its representatives in Congress need more information. Did you know this was happening? Have you heard about it on national or local news? Time is short. Don't let the national dialogue fall short. The FCC needs to hear your voice as it reshapes the future of American media.