Dereg struggle seen assisting public TV

There’s hope for public broadcasting in the upwelling of citizen opposition to FCC deregulation of commercial TV, broadcast historian Robert McChesney said in a keynote address at the PBS Annual Meeting June 7. “It’s this movement of an aroused and engaged citizenry that really is the future that will genuinely expand and enhance public-service media in the United States,” McChesney asserted. Dereg became a matter of public debate as the FCC adopted new rules June 2, loosening limits on station ownership. A single company can now own stations reaching up to 45 percent of the country’s population, up from 35 percent (and the real reach permitted is greater, since the FCC by policy counts only half of UHF viewers). The changes are expected to excite a frenzy of station purchases by media giants.