The Commission has announced a "localism hearing" to be held on Halloween – October 31 – in the Commission Meeting Room in Washington. The stated purpose of the meeting is to "gather information from consumers, industry, civic organizations, and others on broadcasters’ role in their local communities and proposed changes to our rules." It may be interesting to attend just to find out what "proposed changes" the Commission might have in mind, because to date we are not aware of any specific proposals from the FCC on the "localism" front.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in the notion of "localism" as a factor in broadcast regulation might want to take a look at a law review article titled "The Myth of the Localism Mandate" by FHH’s Harry Cole and Patrick Murck. It appeared in the Commlaw Conspectus, a journal of communications law and policy published by the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. The article examines the history of "localism" from the Radio Act of 1927 to current times. The conclusion is that, while the FCC (as well as the Federal Radio Commission before it) has historically talked the talk about "localism", it has never walked the walk: the authors conclude that it is "idle for the Commission to believe that, just because the Commission raises its regulatory eyebrows and huffs and puffs about some localism obligation, there exists any such obligation which the Commission is able to articulate, much less enforce. That has not been the case since the Federal Radio Commission eighty years ago, and it is not the case today." You can find the article here.