TV stations have been through rough patches before. But now the ground is rumbling with some strange noises about consolidation.First, small TV markets are considering what to do with their costly news operations
. They are loath to give them up, since
local news programming is a true point of distinction in a rapidly hard-changing media landscape.
So stations are talking about sharing news operations. Not only that, but they want more
duopolies -- especially in the mid-sized and smaller markets. Maybe that is not enough. What about one company owning not one or two stations, but maybe three or more in the market?
this will have concerned public interest groups sending out the warnings about the lack of diversity. Public airwaves? Oh yeah, the public conceivably owns them. But who is making the profits?
Now more than ever, business and journalism are at a crossroad. Don't think there is plenty of real news reporting on the Internet. Real journalism costs money, no matter if it's on a screen
or through paper and ink.
The Obama Administration almost assuredly will support choice, diversity, and the little guy. But stuff always falls through the cracks, even with the best of
What does that mean if you are a TV station owner? You may get some outside help, but odds are you are mostly on your own. Some have already crashed; it's called
bankruptcy. Virtually all of these are chapter 11 filings, which allow companies to still operate.
What happens if -- or when -- things get to a point that they can't? Scores of TV
stations will just stop operating. Viewers will have to adjust; maybe they'll even notice