Kevin Martin, the head of the FCC, has announced that he wants to decide on new media ownership rules by the end of the year. In particular, he’s considering lifting a longtime ban on cross-ownership—that is, letting a single company own print and broadcast media outlets in the same market. As Eric Klinenberg explained in Mother Jones earlier this year, repealing the ban would be bad news for the news, especially the embattled newspapers and TV stations that—love ’em or hate ’em—remain Americans’ main sources of local news.
This isn’t the first time the FCC has taken a swing at the cross-ownership ban: Former commission head Michael Powell managed to strike it down in 2003. (A federal court blocked the move.) That time, the FCC rushed the decision through with minimal public input; this time, Martin says he’ll take the “unusual step” of letting the public comment on the proposed rule changes… for one whole month.