- While Americans were distracted by the very important public debates around an open internet and the proliferation of fake news online, the Federal Communications Commission quietly proposed reshaping a key way rural Americans stay informed — their local television news.
Two decades-old rules — called by policymakers the “main studio rule” and the “UHF discount” — come from different eras of broadcasting, one when the only electronic media was radio and the other from the days before the dominance of cable television. They also come from a different era of government, when policymakers promoted the principle of localism — the belief that local broadcasters should serve their communities.
In my new book on local media policy in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, I note a withdrawal from localism in media policy and the chipping away at this bedrock principle of American democracy. The recent FCC moves join this trend, to the detriment of local voices, local people and local stories.