FCC testimony on media ownership: Bill Wippel

Thank you for arranging your efforts and to come to Seattle. My name is Bill Wippel. I have been an active broadcaster in the area for 56 years. During my career, I have been an owner, news director, and sales manager. I strongly oppose expanding broadcast cross-ownership.

I now volunteer to broadcast for the blind for the Evergreen Radio Reading Service, a part of the Washington Talking Book and Braille library. I am also the executive director of Tape Ministries Northwest, which records free, wholesome inspirational books for the blind in 48 states and Canada. Former on-air broadcasters are recording books for both of these entities -- donating their time and talent.

It is a shame the broadcasting conglomerates with all their profits are not helping more public service organizations. With digital radio, non-profits should at least be allowed access to the new radio channels, if not the primary frequency. It appears the public service is last on most broadcasters’ agendas.

I would like to take roll call now. Is KOMO TV here? Would you say, ‘Here!’? Is KIRO TV here?

[VOICE] Sir. […] communications owner of KOMO.

Good. Great. Good to have you here. How about KCPQ-TV? Great. How about KIRO News Radio?

[VOICE] [Muffled sounds in background]

KOMO Radio?

[VOICE] Same ownership.

Seattle P-I?

[VOICE] [….] TV

Seattle Times? They are here, I know.

This kind of speaks as to why we need more independent reporting. Clear Channel has announced it is divesting hundreds of radio stations in small markets. Why? Because they can still have market shares in 200 markets instead of 300 and it will save them money and not affect the bottom line. The bottom line. It has left us in local broadcasting and public service without a line.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey