Media Access Project to close its doors

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Public Knowledge President and MAP veteran Gigi Sohn said the closing of the closing "resonates ... on a very personal level." She spent a decade working at the firm and considers MAP founder Andy Schwartzman her mentor, she said. 

"Through the years, MAP has provided an invaluable voice for the public interest on a range of issues, including the public responsibility of broadcasters, to media ownership and, in more recent years, many of the most prominent policy disputes of the Internet age," Sohn said in a statement.

American Cable Association president Matthew Polka said MAP's demise was "sad news” because "the public has greatly benefited from the group’s very effective advocacy.” 

Free Press CEO Craig Aaron praised Schwartzman as a “true pioneer in media reform and advocacy” and thanked him for "his tireless efforts to represent those who didn't have a voice in Washington." 

Vonya McCann, senior VP for government affairs at Sprint Nextel, said that "Americans have lost a significant advocate in Washington." Sprint and MAP often disagreed, she said, but when the two were on the same side, McCann said Sprint "could not have asked for a better partner" in MAP.  

In an interview with The Hill, Schwartzman said MAP was forced to close because it simply ran out of money. 

He said he’s proud of MAP’s 33-year history, and singled out two accomplishments of the group: a successful campaign to maintain the FCC’s more restrictive media ownership rules, and a court victory that lead to the creation of low-power FM community radio stations.

"Community radio is really vibrant," Schwartzman said, with hundreds of stations now broadcasting and more on the way as a result of more licenses being issued by the FCC. 

Schwartzman said his “proudest achievement” is the network of MAP alumni that has remained in the media and telecommunications industries. 

"We have worked very hard to train people, and to make sure they stay in public interest," he said.

— This story was updated at 4:19 p.m.