The leaders of several House committees and subcommittees announced on Monday they will "start a process to develop proposals to update the Communications Act." The first step in the process is in invitation to stakeholders to take part in a series of meetings beginning in June. No other details were given in the brief press release.
The announcement was made by Senator John D. Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Senator John F. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Rep. Rick Boucher, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.
The brevity of the announcement belies the importance to the telecommunications and media industries of a re-written Communications Act.
The last time the act was completely overhauled was in 1996, which amended the Communications Act of of 1934. One of the changes was a loosening of limits on consolidation of media ownership. As a result, Clear Channel went on an extraordinary acquisition run over the next five years, buying radio stations and outdoor advertising companies . It acquired concert promotion giant SFX Entertainment in 2000. Its live entertainment division, Clear Channel Entertainment, was spun off in December 2005 and renamed Live Nation. The company has gone on to further solidify its standing in the live music field in the U.S. and many other countries. Earlier this year, the company merged with Ticketmaster.
So, the major player of today's live music and ticketing businesses are tied directly to those changes in the 1996 Communications Act. It stands to reason the next version of the act could have equally important consequences.
- SFX Entertainment,
- Clear Channel,
- Live Nation,
- House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet,
- Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet,
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce,
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
- United States