Indie Producers Squeezed Out of TV, GAO Confirms

TV broadcast networks and major cable operators with ownership stakes in cable channels continue to squeeze independent TV producers and channels off the air, the Government Accountability Office reports. Creative Voices was pleased to have worked with GAO to document in this important report the chokehold that Big Media has over access to television. In particular, GAO found “major broadcasters produced about 76 to 84 percent of prime time programming hours.”

Kudos to Senators Dorgan, Leahy, and Kohl, who asked the Government Accountability Office, the federal government’s main investigative body, to look into charges that media consolidation has reduced opportunities for independent producers and programmers. In a letter, the senators wrote: “It is important that we understand the current media environment, the reasons for the drastic decrease in independent programming and the impact government laws and regulations have on the media industry.” The senators note that some 50% of primetime television programming was independently produced in 1989 but only about 18% is now. Also, the solons said indie radio producers have reported “difficulty getting carried on radio stations, or if carried, under unfavorable conditions.”

The GAO report confirms the Senators’ concerns and, we hope, leads the way to remedial action that will allow consumers to once more access independently-produced creative content on their televisions.

The GAO Full Report and Highlights are linked below.