09/28/2006 05:48 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

FCC Finally Faces the Public in L.A.

A quick heads up on a really important hearing happening next Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The Federal Communications Commission just announced that its first official public hearing on media ownership will be held in town at two locations -- the University of Southern California and El Segundo High School -- on October 3.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to be there with the four other commissioners, and so are plenty of Big Media lobbyists. So it's crucial that everyday Angelenos show up to tell them what they think about corporate media's plans to buy up more local news outlets. They're trying to change the rules so that companies like Tribune, Clear Channel, News Corp. and Disney can own more local newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.

Last time they tried to weaken ownership rules, some 3 million people contacted the FCC and Congress to oppose the move. The courts threw out the rule changes and sent the FCC back to the drawing board. So now FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has promised to "hold public hearings in diverse locations around the country to fully involve the American people."

The FCC has come under fire for suppressing studies showing consolidation damages local media, and for abandoning its mandate to ensure diversity in the U.S. media system. Despite overwhelming evidence against the dangers of consolidation, a majority of the agency's commissioners remain determined to gut the last remaining curbs to runaway consolidation.

A broad-based coalition of consumer, media reform, labor and civil rights groups is urging their members to attend the L.A. hearings and testify about the impact of media consolidation.

If you're in LA go to one or both of the hearings. If you have friends there, please encourage them to attend. And stay tuned to for frequent updates.