More time to weigh in
on changes to media
ownership rules

In response to petitions from six groups, including media unions, consumer groups and network affiliates, the Federal Communications Commission yesterday extended deadlines for public comment that may help shape future media ownership rules.

"Interest groups recognize the likelihood of significant changes to ownership rules under the direction of FCC Chairman (Michael) Powell and the Bush administration," said media attorney Jeff Portnoy. "These groups need more time to rally public support to limit cross-ownership."

It is an important extension for Honolulu, given the concentration of media ownership in the market.

As part of its biennial review of ownership rules it released a set of 12 sweeping media ownership studies Oct. 1. The commission set an initial deadline for public comment by Dec. 2 with the reply deadline set for Jan. 2, 2003.

Yesterday's decision gives the groups and other interested parties until Jan. 2 for initial comments and until Feb. 3 for replies to filed comments.

In the past, a company could own no more than seven AM, FM and television stations.

Subsequent deregulation relaxed those rules and then the Telecommunications Act of 1996 vastly changed the media ownership landscape with an explosion of mergers and acquisitions.

Raycom Media of Alabama, owner of Honolulu's KHNL-TV, became the first company in the United States to own and operate two television stations in the same market when it purchased KFVE-TV in 2000. The single-ownership was allowed because the stations fell below market share and technical limits imposed by the FCC.

Nationally, Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. owns some 1,225 radio stations and 37 television stations, seven of them in Honolulu, including top-rated KSSK-AM/FM. It owns equity interest in 240 other stations internationally and controls more than 775,000 outdoor advertising displays, including billboards, street furniture and transit panels.

Among the radio, television and magazine publishing holdings of Indiana-based Emmis Communications Corp. are two Honolulu television stations. It purchased KHON in 1998 and agreed to purchase KGMB in May 2000. Emmis has operated both stations under repeated extensions of a waiver of an FCC requirement that it sell one station.

Diaries not for everyone

It would have been like stuffing a ballot box. He didn't do it.

As president and general manager of a television station, Mike Rosenberg is prohibited from participating in TV ratings surveys from Nielsen Media Research.

As explained on Nielsen's Web site, "There is a risk that the viewing information from an employee in the TV industry would be biased toward viewing TV, in ways that are intentionally different from the population at large."

Gee, ya think?

Nielsen disregards diaries submitted by employees of TV networks, cable and satellite TV companies and the radio industry.

So why did the company send a diary to the "TV Research Home" at 801 S. King St. with no name or apartment number? KITV's studios and offices are on the lower floors.

"This is a 41-story building," Rosenberg said of One Archer Lane. It has hundreds of unit and office numbers, but the diary was simply addressed to the building.

It wound up on his desk because the mail carrier saw "Nielsen" and "TV" and likely surmised it was for the station, Rosenberg said.

Annoyed, he called Nielsen to scold the company about its diary-mailing techniques.

He sent the diary back but "I told 'em I'm keeping the five bucks," that Nielsen sent as incentive to fill out the diary. The money will go into an employee party fund, he said.

Man behind the curtain

Former Hawaii broadcaster Brock "B-rock" Whaley has moved from air staffing for Cox Radio Inc. stations in Atlanta, to Cox Radio Networks operations. He's producing and running technical operations for the syndicated "Ask the Dream Doctor" show. The show features Dr. Charles McPhee and it will air Monday through Friday evenings in Atlanta, Miami, San Antonio and Tulsa. It is also streamed live over the Internet at

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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