Members will hear testimony on issues relating to media ownership, particularly the television broadcast ownership rules currently being reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission. Senator McCain will preside.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. William Dean Singleton
Click here for a PDF version of Mr. Singleton's testimony.
Mr. Mel KarmazinChief Executive OfficerSIRIUS Satelite Radio
Good morning Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings, and Members of the Committee. I am Mel Karmazin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Viacom. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today about the FCC’s ownership proceeding and the important review that agency has undertaken pursuant to congressional and judicial directives. Viacom has a well-known position of asserting that fulsome deregulation of the Commission’s outmoded broadcast restrictions is not only warranted but long overdue. It is utterly unsupportable and unrealistic that broadcasters should be handcuffed in their attempts to compete for consumers at a time when Americans are bombarded with media choices via technologies never dreamed of even a decade ago, much less 60 years ago when some of these rules were first adopted. The current proceeding has had more focus and public attention than almost any review in the agency’s history. There have been thousands of comments filed; an official FCC hearing took place in Richmond; and countless ad hoc hearings have been held in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, New York and Burlington, Vermont, to name but a few venues. Letters also have poured into the FCC from both sides of the aisles in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Little new can be said on this topic. Any hard evidence to be had is already on the record and, as many in Congress and the Administration have said, it is time for the Commission to do its job and complete this biennial review. The public interest is not served by delay. Anyone who has read the vast number of submissions in the FCC ownership proceeding will see that Viacom argues for deregulation of broadcasting rules across the board —even the ones that have no effect on us. Conversely, some big and powerful companies, along with their trade associations, have been arguing that the networks should receive no relief from the national ownership rules —particularly, the television cap. At the same time, these companies have been zealously advocating for relief on all of the local rules so that they can enjoy the efficiencies of consolidation. At Viacom, there is no talking out of both sides of our mouth when it comes to arguing for deregulation. We do not own newspapers, and despite the fact that newspapers are formidable competitors for ad dollars in local markets, we favor elimination of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban. We do not own television stations in small markets, where unhealthy consolidation is more likely to occur, but we support relaxation of the local television ownership rule across all market sizes. For there to be a robust broadcasting industry, all broadcasters need deregulation of all broadcast ownership rules. In the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Congress mandated that those wishing to preserve the broadcast ownership rules must prove that the rules are still necessary in light of competition. Viacom has joined with FOX and NBC in submitting substantial and compelling economic and factual evidence that cannot be ignored or refuted by proponents of the status quo. Those who favor maintaining the regulations have failed to carry their burden. The Commission, therefore, must repeal or modify the broadcast ownership rules —that’s what the statute says. Let’s focus on the national television station cap, the most vigorously debated rule under consideration. This rule, which limits ownership to TV stations serving 35% of the nation, is supported most ardently by network affiliates, the Network Affiliated Station Alliance, and their trade association, the National Association of Broadcasters. The arguments they have come up with against deregulating this rule are woefully lacking. First, NASA/NAB argue that affiliates, as opposed to stations owned and operated by the networks —known as O&Os— are “local” and, therefore, better understand and know their viewers. This is simply not true. Most television stations in this country are held by multi-station groups owned by large corporations headquartered in cities located far from their stations’ communities of license —Hearst-Argyle and the New York Times in New York, Tribune in Chicago, Cox in Atlanta, Belo in Dallas, Post-Newsweek in Detroit. What does it matter that Viacom’s main offices are in New York? The corporate group owners are no more “local” in the cities where they own TV stations than is Viacom. Yet, like Viacom and all good broadcasters, group owners work hard to know what viewers want in each market where it has a media outlet. Localism is just good business. Networks invest billions of dollars in that programming, but most of the return on their investment is realized at the station level. Only two of the so-called “Big Four” networks are profitable in any year, operating on low, single-digit margins. Compare the networks to television stations —run by networks and affiliates alike— which operate on margins anywhere from 20-50%. If networks are precluded from realizing more of the revenue generated by stations, networks’ ability to continue their multi-billion dollar programming investments will diminish, and more and more programming will migrate from broadcasting to cable and satellite TV, where regulation is less onerous. More Americans then will have to pay for what they now get for free. NASA/NAB’s second argument, that affiliates provide more local news than do network-owned and-operated stations is, again, false. In a study commissioned by Viacom, FOX and NBC, Economists Incorporated found that the average TV station owned by a network provides more local news per week —37% more— than does the average affiliate —a finding consistent with the FCC’s own independently conducted study. Third, NASA/NAB contend that affiliates preempt network programming substantially more often than do O&Os in order to substitute programming more closely attuned to the interests of local viewers. Wrong again. In another study, Economists Incorporated found that preemption rates for both O&Os and affiliates in 2001 amounted to less than one percent of prime time programming, with affiliates a bit higher than network-owned stations. But the difference in preemption time cannot be attributed to affiliates caring more about their local viewers than their own bottom lines. Rather, as the study found, any difference between the preemption levels of O&Os and affiliates is largely due to higher rates of economic preemptions by affiliates (that is, for paid programming and telethons), not local public affairs programs and high school football, as they would have you believe. Nor is it true that affiliates stand as the bulwark against allegedly inappropriate network programming. The fact of the matter is that preemptions based on content are rare. But in the handful of cases over the past years when an affiliate has determined that a program’s subject may be too sensitive for its market —as was the case last week with our Providence affiliate with respect to the “CSI: Miami” episode dealing with fire hazards at nightclubs— we understand and accommodate. Our own stations would do the same thing for their market’s viewers. Finally, NASA/NAB argue that raising the cap will leave affiliates in need of protection in their network relationship. Companies like Cox, Hearst-Argyle, Gannett, the New York Times, and the Washington Post hardly need protection. Instead, networks and their affiliates need each other. Broadcast networks rely almost exclusively on advertising revenues for their survival, and a prominent feature of the pricing that broadcast networks can still charge despite declining audience levels is that they provide advertisers access to all U.S. households in 212 television markets virtually simultaneously. If a network cannot maintain affiliations in all of those markets, it loses its uniqueness in the advertising sales marketplace. Despite the inevitable tensions in the network-affiliate relationship, no network can afford to risk losing affiliations in even one market, much less 10 or 20 or 50. Through this proceeding, the networks are seeking the opportunity to invest even further in the broadcasting industry. Doing so is a vote of confidence for all broadcasters: It will only serve to increase the value of television stations, and it ensures that free, over-the-air, quality programming will continue to be available to American households. I’d like also to address radio ownership, because in the last few months, radio consolidation has become the poster child against deregulation, the so-called “canary” signaling trouble in the mines of ownership rules relaxation. It’s time for a reality check. It’s true that the 1996 Telecom Act eliminated the limit for ownership of radio stations nationwide. But that doesn’t mean the radio market is concentrated. There are 3,800 separate owners of commercial radio stations across the country. While the largest radio owner nationwide owns about 1,200 stations, that number constitutes only about 11% of the nearly 11,000 commercial radio stations in this country. Viacom does not even rank among the top three radio owners. After Clear Channel, the second largest radio owner is Cumulus Broadcasting, with 258 stations. Third largest is Citadel Communications, with 210 stations. Through its Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom is the fourth largest radio station owner, with 185 stations nationwide, a mere 1.7% of all commercial stations. Further, our stations are located in only 42 of the 286 radio markets in the United States. That means that Infinity has no radio station in 85% of the nation’s markets. Even in the smallest market where we operate —Palm Springs, California, ranked 162— Infinity owns a single radio station out of a total of 21 commercial radio stations operating there. Yet, despite the fact that Infinity lags behind the largest group owner by more than 1,000 radio stations, we rank second to it in terms of revenues. This attests to the fact that competition is, indeed, alive and well in the radio industry. In 1992, 60% of all radio stations were losing money. Thanks to Congress and its wisdom, the radio industry is healthier today. The single biggest complaint of those opposing radio deregulation is that diversity has been lost and that the same songs are played on every radio station across the country. Just not true. The FCC’s study found that song diversity has remained largely unchanged since 1996. And format diversity has also increased since that time, according to studies by Bear Stearns, Katz Media Group and others. Most importantly, listeners are happy. An Arbitron study released earlier this year found that radio listeners are “very pleased” with the programming choices available to them. More than two-thirds, or 69% of those surveyed, said their local stations do a “very good” or “good” job of providing a wide variety of programming. And nearly 75% of listeners think that their local radio stations do a “very good” or “good” job of playing the music they like. Deregulation at the national and local levels has not changed the fact that Infinity, like any serious broadcaster, continues to operate the old fashioned way —by managing and programming all of its radio stations at the local level. Excellence in service to our customers —that is, the local listeners— is critical to our stations’ financial success. In order to attract advertisers, who are the sole source of revenue for radio, we must lure listeners with programming they want. Moreover, our station managers live where their radio stations are located, and they care about their communities. Once you look at the radio facts, you will see that deregulation has made the canary a happy fellow. In conclusion, the FCC must move forward now and complete its review based on the realities of today’s competitive media marketplace. That’s what the public interest demands. Thank you.
Mr. Jim GoodmonPresident and Chief Executive OfficerCapitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings and Members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you in support of the public interest and its core values – localism, diversity and competition. I am Jim Goodmon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Broadcasting Co., Inc., which launched the nation’s first digital broadcast station seven years ago. Capitol owns and operates five television stations and one radio station – all in the Carolinas. Although we own the facilities and equipment, the airwaves are valuable public property – property that deserves our respect. As a third generation broadcaster, I am concerned that we are no longer adequately guarding the airwaves. That is why I believe that it is imperative that we retain the national television ownership cap at 35%. I want to quickly address four issues and concerns: the uniqueness of broadcasting as a medium; the attack on localism; the myth of marketplace changes creating more diversity; and the reality of today’s 35% rule being a 70% rule. The Uniqueness of Broadcasting as a Medium First, broadcasting is a unique medium – distinct from all other media. Our licenses are granted by the Commission to serve “the public interest, convenience, and necessity” of a local community. It does not matter if you own a station in New York City or Glendive, Montana. It does not matter if you own one station or 50. Our duty is the same. We must serve the public interest and reflect local community standards. No other medium is charged with this responsibility. Due to spectrum scarcity creating a significant barrier to entry, a free market analysis simply does not apply to the broadcasting industry. And there is no substitute for local broadcast television. It is free and available to all the nation’s economic levels. It is the primary source for local news, weather, public affairs programming, and emergency information. Two hundred national cable and satellite channels cannot replace a single local news and information signal. The Attack on Localism Broadcasting’s uniqueness begins with localism, which is the second issue I would like to address. Your predecessors wisely made localism the bedrock upon which broadcasting in the United States was built, but today large media giants are trying to replace localism and community standards with financial opportunity and corporate objectives. Since the national television cap was increased from 25% to 35%, we have seen significant consequences, including a shift in the delicate balance of power between the networks and local affiliates resulting in many local programming decisions being made in New York and Los Angeles, not Phoenix or Columbia or Juneau or Baton Rouge or Topeka. At Capitol, we made the decision not to air several FOX reality programs, including “Temptation Island,” “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire” and “Married By America” because we thought they demeaned marriage and family. Managers at stations owned by the Fox network could not have made those decisions. The record at the Commission does not include a single example of a network owned and operated station pre-empting a program based upon community standards. I am not saying we made a right or wrong decision – I am simply saying we made a local decision reflecting our view of local community standards in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Promos are also an issue of concern. During last year’s World Series, we ran alternate network promos due to the violent and explicit promos FOX planned to air to promote its new line-up of network shows. Why? Because we believe the World Series should be family-friendly programming. The right to reject or preempt network programming must remain at the local level for stations to discharge their duty to reflect what they believe is right for their individual communities, whether it is to reject network programming based on community standards or whether it is to preempt national network programming in order to air a Billy Graham special, the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon or local sports. I can’t imagine that anyone in this room really wants to take away local control over television programming. The Parents TV Council says that American families are “disgusted” by the “raw sewage . . . that is flooding into their living rooms day and night through the television screen, and poisoning the minds of an entire generation of youngsters.” The Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, and others joined in a call to reinstate the family hour. And in my own state, the North Carolina Family Policy Council recently spoke out in favor of the 35% cap to maintain local control. In the early days of broadcasting, there were three checks and balances – the content providers as producers, the networks as wholesalers and aggregators of programming, and the local affiliates as the distributors. Independent producers no longer provide checks and balances because the networks now produce much of their own programming thanks to vertical integration, and as the networks are allowed to buy more local stations, they are becoming the distributors as well – dissipating the final check and balance. Can you imagine only having one branch of government? In effect, that is what is happening to broadcasting. The Myth of Marketplace Changes Creating More Diversity Third, proponents of media deregulation claim that the marketplace has changed – that there are now 100s of cable and satellite channels and thousands of Internet sites. Yes, it is true that there are more outlets, but the voices are the same. The bottom line is that five companies – four of whom are the broadcast networks – control most of the so-called new voices in the marketplace. Those five companies own most of the top-rated cable channels, as well as the most-viewed websites. I contend that it is a myth that marketplace changes have created more diversity. The 35% Rule is Actually a 70% Rule Fourth, today’s 35% rule is actually a 70% rule due to the UHF discount, which allows owners to only count 50% of the TV households in markets in which they own UHF stations. This rule is outdated with over 85% of all viewers receiving their local signals via cable or satellite. And when the digital transition is complete, the rule will be obsolete with 94% of all digital stations being located in the UHF band. Conclusion Three final thoughts in conclusion, the economic arguments offered by those proposing increasing the cap are ludicrous. Free over-the-air and network television is a very profitable business with tremendous margins that other industries envy. With deregulation comes a flood of investment bankers, the people that stand to gain the most from the Commission’s proposed action. And with the digital transition, now is not the time to make major ownership changes. The technology and its multiplicity of uses are changing daily. With digital it is technically possible to broadcast four or five channels on a single station. My point is that after seven years of operating a digital television station, and experimenting with a number of ideas, we still don’t know where the transition will lead. To open the gates at this point is dangerous. We need to know more before making decisions that could have dramatic impact on a communication future still to be determined. Finally, I am concerned, as we all should be, that deals are going on between certain members of the Commission and a few large media groups. A letter from a major broadcast group to Chairman Powell offers to “trade” increasing the ownership cap for other concessions. Deal making should not be taking place between a few media giants and a government agency with appointed, not elected, officials. Let’s honor the system that has served our democracy so well in the past and require that the airwaves be used for the “public interest, convenience, and necessity” on a local basis, like your predecessors envisioned. We must retain the national television ownership cap to preserve localism that reflects local community standards. I am grateful to Congressmen Burr, Dingell, Deal, Markey and Price for introducing H.R. 2052 on Friday to codify the national cap at 35%. I urge the Senate to introduce a companion bill. One poll shows that 72% of your constituents are not aware that media ownership restrictions may be relaxed, so I am grateful this Committee is giving this issue attention. Thank you for allowing me to testify.
Mr. Frank A. BlethenPublisher and Chief Executive OfficerThe Seattle Times
Freedom is a variety of voices “There is freedom in a variety of voices.” “There is, I believe, a fundamental reason why the American press is strong enough to remain free. That reason is, that, the American newspaper, large and small, and without exception, belongs to a town, a city, at the most to a region.” The secret of a free press is, “that it should consist of many newspapers decentralized in their ownership and management, and dependent for their support --- upon the communities where they are written, where they are edited, and where they are read.” These eloquent words were from noted journalist Walter Lippman more than 50 years ago. Today, we live in the America of Mr. Lippman’s worst nightmare. An America whose very democracy is at risk because we are on the verge of losing our free press. When I began my career, American democracy appeared secure. It’s foundation was the 1,700 newspaper voices deeply connected to the communities they served. Today, there are fewer than 280 of us independents left. Most in small communities. Concentration and monopolization feeding frenzy. Recently we saw the L.A. Times fall to a Wall Street-driven conglomerate. We are about to witness the same fate for the Orange County Register. Imagine, by the end of the year L.A. will no longer have a newspaper owned and managed by people who care about or are part of the city. This is our future if you permit repeal of the cross ownership ban and other FCC restrictions or monopolization. This Committee gave us a peek into this bleak future with your recent hearings on the abuses of radio concentration and cable rates. Less localism, fewer voices, less access, less ____ information and higher advertising and subscription rates. If cable rates and Clear Channel make you nervous, just wait for the monopolization feeding frenzy if cross ownership is repealed. Bigness and Power Corrupt More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson said he foresaw battles between “rapacious capitalism and democracy.” Jefferson understood that power and size, left unchecked, would invite abuse and would crowd out civic values and overwhelm the public’s interests. It is instructive that the only entities that want the rules repealed are the large Wall Street-driven conglomerates. They claim they need less competition and more monopolization to compete. Yet, these are very lucrative businesses. Monopoly Profit Margins They brag about newspaper profit margins of 30%, and up to 50% on broadcast houses. These are hardly businesses that need to worry about new competition. Ownership Matters Ownership matters. Lippman’s variety of independent voices gave us the structure for the press’ critical watchdog responsibility. Media concentration and Wall Street ownership has turned the watchdog into a lapdog. It has always been that the most serious problem in American journalism is not what we cover, but what we don’t cover. When the watchdog stops barking we are in trouble. The FCC rules discussion has been a big business, special interests discussion. Conducted in the dark, behind closed doors. Without the light of media scrutiny and the enlightenment of robust public debate. Why? Because the corporate entities that financially gain from monopolization now control most of what we read, see and hear. False Arguments The arguments made for less regulation are false. Yes, we have the Internet and we have hundreds of cable channels. But we all know most reliable news or information on the Internet or cable is generated from already existing newsrooms, almost always from newspapers. Simply repackaging and repeating someone else’s content is hardly new news. And besides, the very corporations who claim this is a new competition have already monopolized the most visited internet sites and cable ownership. There may be more access points, but there are fewer voices, and less competition. Action This committee has become the first line of defense in Jefferson’s battle to save our democracy from rapacious capitalism. There is no business justification that I’m aware of – other than monopolization – for lifting any of the current rules or for allowing any entity to engage in cross-media ownership. I am a businessman/journalist. As a local independent, I know how to make a profit to survive. I have no problem with profits. They are essential. But in our family, we make money so we can practice fiercely independent journalism. We represent and are beholden only to the citizens of the handful of communities we are privileged to serve. We are not beholden to Wall Street or any other powerful local forces. We are watchdogs. We are a fast-dying breed. America needs your leadership to take freedom of the press of the endangered species list. Thank you.
Witness Panel 2
Dr. Kent Mikkelsen
I am pleased to have an opportunity to present an economist’s perspective on three media ownership issues now being considered by the Committee: the broadcast television national ownership cap, the so-called “duopoly” rule and the ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. A few brief words about my background would be in order. I received a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1984. I was an economist in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, analyzing competition issues. Since 1986 I have been employed by Economists Incorporated, an economic research and consulting firm located in Washington D.C., where I am a vice president. I have been examining competition and regulatory issues in media, including broadcast and newspapers, for 19 years. Economists Incorporated is currently retained by Fox, NBC and Viacom to conduct research and analysis related to the ownership rules now before the Federal Communications Commission. I have previously been retained by the Newspaper Association of America to analyze newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership issues. However, the views I express today are my own; I am here on behalf of none of my clients. Among economists, there is a general presumption that in a free market, the self-interested actions of individuals and firms will lead to socially desirable amounts and types of goods and services being produced as efficiently as possible. Exceptions to this general presumption can occur due to what economists call “market failure.” Market failure can occur, for instance, when too much or too little of some good is produced because economic actors do not fully internalize the costs or the benefits of their actions. Of particular interest today is another type of market failure referred to as problems of monopoly or market power. In many industries, firms could increase their profits by combining to reduce or eliminate competition among themselves. The participating firms get higher profits, but consumers suffer through higher prices and inferior products and services. For this reason, the antitrust laws were designed to discourage or prevent firms from significantly reducing competition. These laws are justified by this potential market failure. Economic theory teaches that competition can be threatened if economic activity in a market is concentrated into the hands of a small number of firms. Generally speaking, the larger the number of firms in the market, and the more similar the firms are in size, the greater is the likelihood that competition will prevail (other things being constant). Thus, there is a clear theoretical link between the structure of ownership in the market and the presence of competition. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the two main federal antitrust agencies, have developed a standard methodology to identify changes in ownership structure that can potentially reduce competition. Their “Horizontal Merger Guidelines” are also widely used elsewhere in analyzing competition issues. At the risk of oversimplification, I would like to very briefly describe the analytical process. · The first step is to determine all the products and services in which the merging parties compete. · Next, one determines who else competes. That is, one determines what other products and services are close substitutes in use and are available in the relevant geographic area. · Having identified the relevant products and competing providers, the next step is to assess the concentration of ownership among the providers. Concentration is usually measured using an index based on the market shares attributable to each separate owner in the market, using actual sales shares or shares based on capacity. · The measured concentration level is then compared with external standards. While there are other factors that are also considered, the federal agencies that routinely analyze mergers have identified as a minimum threshold the concentration level that would exist in a market with 5-6 equal-sized firms, or some larger number of unequal-sized firms, depending on the degree of inequality. · Based on the results of this analysis, an antitrust agency would decide whether a proposed merger was likely to result in a significant decrease in competition. If so, the agency would likely oppose or seek modification of the proposed merger. Please note that the antitrust agencies do not attempt to “maximize” the number of competitors. Against the possibility that competition would not be preserved if two firms merged, competition policy recognizes that mergers and joint ownership can yield benefits to consumers in the form of improved product offerings and lower costs. It is also recognized that economic freedom should not be curtailed unless there are clear, compelling benefits to be gained. For these reasons, the antitrust agencies only oppose those mergers that are judged likely to have a significant impact on competition. One of the reasons given for the FCC media ownership rules now under review is that they protect competition. In my view, they are not needed to serve this function. Competition among television stations to attract viewers and advertisers and to acquire local programming rights occurs at a local level. It is possible, particularly in smaller local markets with relatively few media outlets, that competition would be significantly reduced if two television stations that now have different owners were brought under common ownership. Competition might also be reduced in specific markets if a television station or radio station were to be acquired by the owner of a local newspaper. But these are precisely the issues of ownership concentration and competition that the antitrust agencies routinely deal with in enforcing the antitrust laws. There is no need for a separate set of competition standards for media. Nor is there any need for one-size-fits-all restrictions such as the “duopoly” rule and the cross-ownership ban. Joint ownership of two of the leading television stations in a market, or cross-ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast station, need not significantly reduce competition in local markets with many media outlets. In individual cases, joint ownership could be beneficial despite producing concentration levels that would appear troubling. If joint ownership or operation is necessary to bring stations on the air that would otherwise not be broadcasting or would be insignificant as a competitive force, joint ownership is probably not anticompetitive. Joint ownership or operation can also enable stations to provide superior services that would not be economical for either station to offer by itself on a stand-alone basis. Such gains may outweigh competitive concerns. But this can best be determined by looking at each specific case. Finally, the national television ownership cap does not bear on any competition issues whatsoever. Competition among televisions stations and other media outlets occurs at a local level. Competition in one local market is not reduced if one of the stations in the local market is jointly owned with a station in another market. Another reason offered for the media ownership rules is to promote diversity. I find it instructive to contrast the competition and diversity rationales. First, the justification for a competition policy is “market failure.” I do not know of a corresponding rationale that demonstrates that the amount of diversity produced by economic agents in the market is or would tend to be too small. Second, unlike with competition, there is no sound theoretical basis for linking deconcentrated station ownership to the types of diversity the Commission is concerned about. It is presumed that, with a given number of stations, content diversity will be greatest if all stations are separately owned. However, it is equally plausible to believe that, if one party owned several stations, it would purposely diversify the offerings on its stations so as to increase the overall audience it would attract. The link between ownership diversity and viewpoint diversity is equally tenuous. Station owners do not typically enforce their viewpoint on their stations. If we assume profit-maximizing behavior, diversity in the audience seems to dictate that there will be diversity of viewpoints expressed on each station, as well as diversity across stations. Furthermore, station managers and news directors usually determine what is aired, not the corporate owners. Even if it could be demonstrated that deconcentrated ownership resulted in increased diversity, this would not justify what I will call an “absolutist” approach to diversity, i.e., if diversity is good, then a policy that leads to more diversity must be preferred to a policy that yields less diversity. Such an absolutist approach is not the basis for sound decision-making. To illustrate with an example, most people would agree that safety is a desirable goal. Nevertheless, we do not adopt policies that “maximize” the amount of safety. Mandating speed limits of 25 mph everywhere, or imposing restrictive licensing that would sharply reduce the number of cars on the road, would both likely increase traffic safety. We choose not to adopt these policies, however, because the cost in inefficiency and loss of personal freedom is judged to be too high. Similar balancing is needed in the pursuit of diversity or any other social goal. As with competition, it is difficult to find any connection at all between diversity concerns and the national television broadcast ownership cap. What matters to diversity is the range of viewpoints available to individuals. That range is not diminished when a local media outlet available to an individual is jointly owned with another media outlet in another geographic area that is not available to the individual. In conclusion, competition in media can be preserved using antitrust standards without the need for one-size-fits-all restrictions like the “duopoly” rule and the cross-ownership ban. If, in selected markets, ownership concentration were allowed to rise to somewhat higher levels consistent with competition standards, I see no reason to think that the associated amount of diversity provided by broadcast stations and other sources would be insufficient. No separate ownership standard based on diversity is warranted. The national television ownership cap, which serves neither competition nor diversity, should also be removed.