Media Ownership

Do media conglomerates have too much power?


Media companies are expanding rapidly, integrating broadcast television, cable, radio, newspapers, books, magazines and the Internet under their roofs. Five conglomerates control most prime-time TV programming, and one company — Clear Channel — dominates radio. Yet, in the paradox of today's media landscape, consumers have more choices than ever, although critics say too many choices are low-brow offerings like “reality” TV. Meanwhile, newcomers — such as satellite radio and Web bloggers — keep sprouting. Now, as media companies push to grow even bigger, a nationwide debate rages over whether there's enough diversity of content and ownership. In June, the Federal Communications Commission relaxed its media-ownership rules, but growing resistance from lawmakers threatens to roll back the sweeping changes.

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