FCC testimony on media ownership: Bob Grubbs

Hi, my name is Bob Grubbs and I live on Vashon Island. I moved here about two years ago after spending about most of my life in Southwestern Ohio. I used to listen to a radio station there called WYSO (at Yellow Springs, Ohio) which had an amazing talented staff and featured a nice mix of NPR and PRI shows, and some locally produced and hosted programming as well.

I’m here tonight really because -- as a result of watching with horror -- as that station purged most of its local programming and was assimilated into the board like NPR entity, you know resistance is futile. I became painfully aware in this process at just how this national trend towards media consolidation can play out at the local level and it continues to drive locally produced broadcasting, I think, to extinction.

As even non-commercial radio has gone increasingly into income-driven formats, there’s less and less coverage of community-relevant issues and events, and musical genres (such as jazz and classical) are finding less bandwidth these days. Even though they have smaller audiences I still think they are extremely important that we hear them.

So were left then with what I call big box radio. One size fits all, off the rack, a reduced-options menu of syndicated programming with little or no connection to the local community that this radio ostensibly serves. I realize that I am preaching to the choir so far as both of you are opposed to the reduction in ownership limits and have opposed it previously and do so now.

So I ask you to take this message back to the other commissioners in Washington. The American people want the opportunity to listen to what others in their communities -- people whom they know and can trust -- think about various local issues or about a play that’s being performed in the local community theatre. They want to talk to or hear people who can tell them where the fish are biting. And hear who’s performing at the café downtown. As you rightly observed in your recent editorial in the Seattle Times, commissioner Copps, the American people, not the corporations own the airwaves. I submit to you that loosening the controls regulating media conglomerates is not what most Americans want to hear from the FCC. Thank you.

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