When Powell was in that post, he commissioned a study designed to show that outside ownership and owners who own several stations provide just as much local news and do just as much for the community as locally-based owners.
When the results did not turn out the way he wanted them to, Powell purportedly had the study destroyed:
Three years ago, then-FCC chair Michael Powell launched a proceeding on the effects of local ownership on television news as part of his drive to further deregulate media and allow for even greater consolidation. But the report commissioned under Powell turned out to undermine his argument that consolidation has no ill effects on local news, and, according to former FCC lawyer Adam Candeub, senior managers ordered "every last piece" of the study destroyed (AP, 9/14/06). On September 12, Senator Barbara Boxer, armed with the leaked report, questioned current FCC Chair Kevin Martin about it at his renomination hearing.
According to the report, locally owned stations in fact deliver nearly six minutes more of total news and almost five-and-a-half more minutes of local news in a 30-minute newscast than stations with non-local owners. This adds up to 33 more hours of local news a year--a remarkable figure, and a damning one for big media's allies in the FCC, who are required to protect the public interest and to promote localism.
I would be interested in comments from readers concerning what effect, if any, outside ownership and ownership of more than one station has had on local television coverage in the Joplin and Springfield areas.