Media ownership
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media ownership fdm 20c introduction to digital media lecture 20.11.2008. warren sack / film & digital media department / university of california, santa cruz. outline. who owns the media today? ownership structures of local newspapers media map of u.s. media

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Slide1 l.jpg

media ownership

fdm 20c introduction to digital media

lecture 20.11.2008

warren sack / film & digital media department / university of california, santa cruz

Outline l.jpg

  • who owns the media today?

    • ownership structures of local newspapers

    • media map of u.s. media

    • media map of international media

  • types of connection between media companies

    • ownership

    • directorship

    • content

    • standards

  • implications

    • censorship

    • focus

  • fcc’s ongoing review of ownership laws

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media concentration: bagdikian’s chronology

  • 1983: 50 corporations dominated most every mass medium in the United States

  • 1987: 23 corporations dominated

  • 1987-1996: the number decreased to 14 corporations

  • 1997: 10 corporations dominated the media

  • 2000: 6 firms now dominate all U.S. mass media

  • 2003-2004: FCC decided deregulate existing media ownership laws, then decided to reregulate, but...

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local newspaper ownership

  • Alarm! out of business

  • Aptos Times owned by The Times Publishing Group

  • Capitola Times owned by The Times Publishing Group

  • Scotts Valley Times owned by The Times Publishing Group

  • City on a Hill owned by UCSC

  • Connection Magazine locally owned?

  • Goodtimes locally owned?

  • Metro Santa Cruz owned by Metro Newspapers

  • Mid-County Post locally owned

  • Register / Pajaronian owned by News Media Corporation

  • Valley Press/Scotts Valley Banner owned by Johnson Newspaper Corporation

  • Santa Cruz Sentinel owned by Ottaway Newspapers, Inc. which is owned by Dow Jones and Co., Inc.

  • San Jose Mercury News owned by Knight-Ridder

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resources for uncovering ownership ties

  • websites of the publication or station

  • websites of the owning corporation

  • Hoovers (

  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (

  • Columbia Journalism Review (

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u.s. media

  • The Big Ten (

  • note ownership of internet resources

  • note mutual investment (e.g., AT&T owns 8% of NewsCorp)

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ownership and the internet

  • According to Jupiter Media Metrix, a company that tracks internet and technology analysis and measurement, the "[t]otal number of companies that control 60 percent of all minutes spent online in the US dwindled 87 percent, from 110 in March 1999 to 14 in March 2001.” They further point out that within the 14 companies, it is heavily skewed towards the top four.

  • (

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radio ownership

  • In 1996 and 1997, 4,407 of the nation’s 11,000 commercial radio stations changed hands. (

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the case of clear channel

  • Two companies, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. and Viacom, now attract 42 percent of radio listeners and industry revenue. L. Lowry Mays, the San Antonio-based billionaire founder of Clear Channel, owned thirty-six stations before deregulation and now has 1,225 in fifty states. In a decade, the company’s revenue has gone from $74 million to about $8 billion. ibid, Columbia Journalism Review

  • Clear Channel programming reaches more than 110 million listeners every week; Clear Channel Radio, which daily reaches 54% of all people ages 18-49 in the U.S. (

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local stations owned by clearchannel

  • KDON (102.5)

  • KSJO (92.7)

  • KOCN (105.1)

  • KTOM (100.7)

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who owns the media here?

  • try this website: the center for public integrity


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interlocking directorates: another form of influence

  • see artist project by futurefarmers:

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what is the FCC?

  • Federal Communications Commission


  • “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. ”

  • The FCC is directed by five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 5-year terms.”

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interview with FCC Commissioner

  • listen to the interview by Robert McChesney with Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein


    • [show of Mar. 23, 2008]

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FCC rules under review in 2006

  • Local Television Ownership Limit

  • Local Radio Ownership Limit

  • UHF Discount Used in Calculating the National Television Ownership Limit

  • Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

  • Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Limit

  • Dual Network Ban


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how does ownership influence programming? the clear channel case

  • censorship

    • after 9/11 clear channel “recommended” that its stations not play a list of 200 songs including everything by rage against the machine and cat steven’s “peace train” (City on a Hill Press, May 15, 2003)

  • focus

    • Clear Channel has perfected what’s called “voice tracking,” a deceptive technique in which centrally produced programming — containing local allusions — is beamed to the company’s stations, letting listeners believe that the content is all locally originated. (Columbia Journalism Review)

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does ownership influence programming? the miramax case

  • michael moore’s film, fahrenheit 911, winner of the 2004 cannes film festival is to be distributed in the u.s. by miramax; but,

  • miramax is owned by disney with huge holdings in florida where jeb bush is governor; so,

  • disney tells miramax not to distribute the film

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international media ownership

  • the global ownership chart