FCC hearings set for Chicago Thursday

Tomorrow’s Federal Communications Commission hearing on media ownership at Operation Push is going to be a spectacle, no doubt it. It’s an endless debate that will no doubt be exhaustive.

As you know, the FCC has been traveling the country gauging public opinion on media ownership. Chicago will no doubt be the agency’s toughest test, since it is home to a lot of activist organizations, from Operation PUSH (the venue where the hearings will be held tomorrow night) to various others like Chicago Media Action.

The FCC can expect an earful from numerous individuals, including media executives, community groups, and public interest groups.

The discussions will focus on consolidation in the media industry, which has happened since the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed, deregulating the industry and its impact has been felt from local news to diversity to the type of programming that airs on television and radio today, much of it salacious.

The big issue that will be definitely brought up is Sam Zell’s acquisition of the Tribune Co., and whether or not its WGN-AM-TV-Chicago Tribune combo should be broken up.

To see what’s on the agenda Thursday evening, click here.

-Can’t make it Thursday evening? The hearing will also be streamed on the FCC’s website; click here to access the audio/video page (you must have RealPlayer to listen to the stream. Don’t have RealPlayer? You can download it for free here.)