New Media and Localism: Are Local Cable Channels and Locally Focused Websites Significant New Sources of Local News and Information? An Empirical Analysis
Publication Date: September 2007
Publisher(s): Free Press (Organization)
Keywords: Local Websites; Local Cable; Internet; Traditional Media
Supporters of media consolidation argue that rules limiting local ownership of broadcast licenses are no longer necessary to protect the public interest. A justification of this argument is that consumers have access to previously unavailable local news sources, chiefly the Internet and local cable networks. Several comments filed by media companies in the current FCC ownership proceeding argue this point, and cite over one hundred regional cable-only networks and numerous "hyper-local" city-specific web sites to illustrate the non-broadcast local news media available to consumers. This study, using official FCC reports and industry comments, compiles a comprehensive list of local and regional cable-only networks operating in the U.S. and determines that few of them provide local news and information.