FCC Holds Public Hearings on Media Ownership Issues; Practices Its Tomato-Dodging Skills

I don't know about you, but when I discover I've forgotten my iPod/giant binder of CDs/anything that keeps me from listening to Mix 97 in the car, I have the urge to bang my head on the steering wheel. (I've actually done this. Not a great plan. Beeping your horn for no reason at a stoplight does not make new friends.)

Once I've resigned myself to my fate, I stick to one of two freqs: the "oldies" station, in the off chance that they might play "Hang On To Your Ego" by The Beach Boys, and the college radio station, because, damn, the chick who does that Indian music show sounds F-I-N-E.

But if I venture away from those spots on the dial, I suddenly feel the need to drive into a tree (or even better, certain radio transmitters), because let's face it, kids: commercial radio is the worst thing since the dudes from Atreyu were like, "Hey, let's like... uh. Let's. like, be in a band but be all goth and shit but. like, trendy. Do you know how to put on eyeliner?" If the radio actually repped what's been released in this joint for the past 50-odd years, Led Zeppelin's catalog would boast, oh, maybe five songs.

But wait! There's hope (kind of)! Last week, the FCC announced that it will be holding six public hearings on "media ownership issues." Allow me to translate: "Media ownership issues" actually means "yeah, we know we let Clear Channel go all Pac-Man on radio stations and you're forced to hear 'Livin' On A Prayer' 57 times a day, but mannn, we was stooooned."

Chairman Kev Martin sez: "Public input is integral to this process [...] I look forward to hearing from the American people on a variety of subjects at these hearings such as the impact of the Commission's rules on localism, minority ownership, and various types of programming like independent and religious programming and children's and family-friendly programming."

Allow me to clarify: "We actually have no idea where all the independence and localism went in radio. I think it has something to do with that Clear Channel dude. One day we woke up, and it was all gone. Anyone have ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?"

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