MediaFile

FCC: There might be something amiss in media

Newspaper advertising is a joke, local TV stations are struggling to get ads of their own, journalists are losing their jobs and media executives are calling 25 percent revenue declines an improvement. It sounds like something might be amiss in the U.S. media world.

But don’t take our word for it if you’re the Federal Communications Commission, and you’re about to revisit media ownership regulations and see if they need some changing. See this item from Inside Radio:

[FCC] Chairman Julius Genachowski hires internet entrepreneur and journalist Steven Waldman to lead an agency-wide initiative assessing the state of media. Waldman will lead a team to conduct what’s promised to be an “open, fact-finding process” looking at how the economy is impacting media outlets and make recommendations for policy changes.

Waldman is the co-founder and former editor of the religious website Beliefnet.com, which was bought by News Corp. in 2007. … Waldman will join the Office of Strategic Planning and serve as senior advisor to the chairman. Genachowski says, “A strong consensus has developed that we’re at a pivotal moment in the history of the media and communications, because of game-changing new technologies as well as the economic downturn.”

Yes, but let’s make extra-special sure and hire a guy to check out the situation. You never know; everything might be just fine and we’re making a big mistake saying otherwise.

Moody’s Bottom Rung – media edition

Moody’s published its “U.S. Bottom Rung” on Tuesday a list of companies that the corporate credit ratings agency thinks are at most risk of defaulting on their debt. There are 283 companies on the list, which is current as of March 1, including some near and dear names for people who love the media business.

Why do this? The Wall Street Journal offers some possibilities:

“Sounds like Moody’s may be trying to get out in front on defaults, given they were perhaps a little behind on subprime mortgages and commercial mortgage-backed securities,” said David Resnick, managing director at investment banking firm Rothschild Inc. which works on many corporate bankruptcies and restructurings.

Moody’s and credit-rating rival Standard & Poor’s Corp., were criticized by the Senate in hearings late last year about the effectiveness of the ratings agencies.