Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
You know what? I don’t even know how to do this. Here, I’ll let Ars Technica take this one:
Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the two Republican Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, plans to step down—and right into a top lobbying job at Comcast-NBC.
The news, reported this afternoon by the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico, comes after the hugely controversial merger of Comcast and NBC earlier this year. At the time, Baker objected to FCC attempts to impose conditions on the deal and argued that the “complex and significant transaction” could “bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms.”
Four months after approving the massive transaction, Attwell Baker will take a top DC lobbying job for the new Comcast-NBC entity, according to reports.
That’s right, from approving one of the biggest media mergers, an FCC Commissioner is taking a job with the company she helped merge. Shocking, right?
Well, only sort of. How much oversight is there at the FCC? Every move there has escalated the amount of money being thrown around, be it in fines to broadcasters, bids and auctions for the rights to use the ‘people’s airwaves,’ or how much money can be saved with more consolidation and larger and larger ownership groups.
Paul Thurst of Engineering Radio (which you should be reading) put’s it this way:
This is nothing new under the sun and has, in fact, been going on for years. It’s called “The Payoff.” Conflict of interest? On the surface, it sure seems that way, but perhaps there is some other innocent explanation for this move. I can’t, for the life of me, think of what that might be, but I’m sure somebody will come up with something.
I would have to agree. It looks like a big payoff from Comcast to an FCC Commissioner for voting favorably for the merger. But it couldn’t be that, right? Yeah, right.
The way the FCC regulates and behaves is important to podcasters. If you don’t believe me, look at what the Telecommunications Act of 1996 did to radio, and you can see how things changed. The Act brought about massive consolidation, shortened playlists on music radio station, and many less jobs in radio. If you want to get into radio, you’re better off staying independent as a podcaster, and seeing what the landscape looks like in another few years.
Jon Stewart had a good take on last night’s The Daily Show. It’s the second story here. Enjoy, but try not to punch your computer after you watch it, OK?
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|Well, That Was Fast – Comcast/NBC Merger|