Tell me again why the new FCC rules are good

This is old news late, but I just watched an old episode of Charlie Rose, and FCC Chairman Michael Powell said something I’ve heard him say elsewhere — this isn’t an exact quote, but his reasoning for the recent deregulation vote goes something like this: All of the good TV shows are being made by pay TV networks; free TV can’t be profitable under current regulations; if we want quality TV, we need to support these changes.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I thought the recent FCC changes allowed newspapers to own TV stations in local markets, and for companies to own up to three TV stations in the same market.

I don’t see how those changes affect national television program.

First, free TV has been turning out plenty of good, profitable programs for a while — Survivor, West Wing, Enterprise, CSI, Law and Order … spring readily to mind. Quality shows supported by advertisers, not subscribers.

Second, networks won’t benefit in the least from the TV version of Clear Channel owing 500 TV stations, so how will consolidation help the networks?

I guess I’m stretching into areas I don’t know enough about, but I just don’t understand Powell’s reasoning.

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