And they're off! A taste of the 2007 scene in media politics

Posted by Mitchell - January 27, 2007 (entry 517)

With the new session in Congress and a new majority party in power for the first time in twelve years, there's been a flurry of long-held-back activity -- including bills on the media policy front. For example:

* Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan have reintroduced their net neutrality legislation in the Senate.

* John Kerry has introduced a bill to claim popular use for unused "white space" in the electromagnetic spectrum for wireless and other media use.

Even Republicans are getting into the act: Republican representatives Joe Barton and Illinois' very own Dennis Hastert, now on the inside looking in, has introduced a bill to put labels on analog TV sets telling viewers they'll be obsolete (What? you're asking TV viewers to READ?!), among other uninspired provisions. (By the way, people better get make a decision fast, otherwise you'll fall fast on a slippery slope with no way back.)

Then there's the fight about to take place on locally. The Illinois General Assembly is about to convene in 2007. One fight there will stem, as we've seen in Indiana and Michigan and (right now!) in Missouri -- over state video franchises, which would remove local control and funding for local public access channels (including CAN TV). Stay tuned for more details on this future fight -- and there will be A LOT of details.

Oh, and by the way, the Tribune Company's auction is concluded. (Chicago Media Auction?) Just three bids were received, and Rupert Murdoch got into the act (he used to own the Sun-Times, you know), and the Tribune was so underwhelmed, they're asking other potential bidders who didn't bid to please reconsider.

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