Friday, November 17, 2017

Will Jacksonville TV and News Be Affected By New FCC Rules?

The new FCC rules relax some rules for local stations. From what I can tell, the two that might affect Jacksonville the most would be these:
Common ownership of two of the top four TV stations in the same market, subject to a “case-by-case” review by the FCC.
and
Common ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market

I can't really find out which stations are the top four in Jacksonville, but it seemed to me when I moved here that there was already some combined ownership, with the shared news broadcasts (CBS/Fox and NBC/ABC). I'm not sure if the new rule would allow one company to own all four of these networks, but you could see the benefit in the ability to cut the news staff in half. You can also see how it might limit our access to real, local news. Or not, I don't know for sure. Most of us get our news from cable infotainment or Facebook, anyhow, so we were already doomed as a society before the FCC decision.


Anyhow, here's the current ownership of stations in Jax.


Graham Media Group (Chicago, IL)
  • Channel 4 Independent
  • Channel 17 CW
Tegna Media (McLean, VA)
  • Channel 12 NBC
  • Channel 25 ABC

Ion Media Networks (West Palm Beach, FL)
  • Channel 21 Ion
  • Channel 41 Ion
Cox Television (Atlanta, GA)
  • Channel 30 Fox
  • Channel 47 CBS
Not so long ago, some of these stations were owned by Nexstar Broadcasting, Bayshore Television, and Newport Television, so there's already been a lot of consolidation in Jax.

So let's say Cox Wanted CW and First Coast News, they could trade their Orlando ABC and Independent stations to Graham (which owns an Orlando CBS channel). Maybe some cash and Tim Tebow will be in the deal.  But then we'd have two total local news stations, with Channel 4 consolidating with Fox and CBS. That's what the critics are worried about.

Media consolidation is not one of the signs of the apocalypse, but when you consider Cox also owns local radio, it get's a bit more sketchy.
  • WAPE-FM-95.1 Contemporary Hit Radio 
  • WOKV-FM-104.5 simulcasts 
  • WOKV (AM) 
  • WJGL-96.9 Classic Hits 
  • WXXJ-102.9 Alternative Rock 
  • WEZI-106.5 Urban AC 
  • WOKV-690 News-Talk
And what if Morris wants to get into the mix, selling the Times-Union to Cox? I've literally never seen a print copy of this newspaper, but I hear it's been around for some time. We could have actionnewsjax and firstcoastnews redirect to jacksonville.com, and it would probably be fine. We'd still have Folio Weekly, I guess. And New Jax Witty, of course.