Localism needed in TV

Published 8:36 am Sunday, October 29, 2017

This week, the Federal Communications Corporation voted to end the “main studio” rule, which requires radio and TV broadcasters to maintain a home studio in the community where they are licensed.

The elimination of the eight-decade-old rule was sought by Baltimore Sinclair Broadcasting, a rapidly-growing owner of television outlets across the nation, including two here in the Tri-State.

This should trouble news consumers, due to the potential harm it could have on local journalism.

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As more and more television and radio stations are being bought up by conglomerates, many have been filled with centralized content from company owners.

By now eliminating the need for a main studio in a station’s hometown, there is conceivably nothing to stop a company from purchasing broadcast outlets in a city and then replacing all local news with national  content created out of state.

This is troubling, not only from an employment perspective and the job loss that could come from eliminating on-air local talent, but it is outright dangerous.

For instance, as radio became similarly deregulated in the 1990s, with stations falling under chain ownership, there were reports in some areas, of stations, relying heavily on automated content, failing to air much-needed emergency bulletins on weather and other situations.

News and reporting of local origin is needed, both in print and in broadcast, in order for the public to be informed.

The FCC erred in this ruling and Americans should be very concerned about its implications.