The FCC New chairman Julius Genachowski Four basic functions Frequency/licensing allocation Establish technical standards What will standards of high definition be? Policing broadcast content How they do this What their parameters are Creating rules for ownership and inter-industry relations Regulating Content FCC regulates broadcast content Does not censor- only reacts to incidents If you think something is inappropriate, you have to complain to them( then they investigate Disallows obscenity, profanity, indecency Defined by community standards Cable is not regulated by FCC( cable is self-regulated Imposes fines to individual stations for offenses No jurisdiction over broadcast networks because broadcast networks don?t actually air programs, stations do. FCC has jurisdiction over stations Why not cable? Radio Act of 1927: Declared airwaves a public resource (part of PICAN standard) Cable not public resource, not scarce (that?s why there are thousands of channels), not intrusive (you asked for it) 2005-2005: FCC considers regulating cable Cable?s pre-emptive moves: V-Chip education( (but very few people actually use it) Emphasis on tiers rather than a la carte Get family tier (cable package that?s safe for family) Self-regulation Standards and Practices (people who work for network, NOT FCC) Regulate content at level of production Approve scripts, episodes Why Self-Regulate? Threat of imposed regulation( don?t want FCC to come in and do it for you Affiliates refusing clearance Pressure from public advocacy groups Pressure from advertisers Corporation?s own political/commercial interests Deregulation Premise: corporations serve public interests best when allowed to compete without restriction 1980s-1990s: deregulatory trends FCC chair Mark Fowler: ?Toaster with pictures? Just another appliance, why should we regulate? Repeal of Fin-Syn, etc. Telecommunications Act of 1996 Goal #1: Let any communications businesses compete in any market against any other Pushed structural deregulation of ownership Station ownership cap raised to 35% Eliminated cross-ownership restrictions Broadcast, cable, internet, phone, newspaper Problem(You don?t want all information you?re getting to come from one source Goal #2: maximize competition across media by replacing public ?trustee? system with ?market? system But is the market ?free? when a few companies control all major media? Goal #3: Preserve free speech and maximize choice by limiting government control Emphasized self-regulation of content Mandates v-chip, TV ratings, but allows ?mature? content Recent Trends in Reregulation More recent changes to various rules Duopoly Rule: Cant? own 2 stations in same market Now: unless one is rated 5th or worse (can?t own top three stations) So essentially there only needs to be 5 owners in every market Multiple network ownership Ban( you can only own one network CBS given exemption to start UPN (and now CW) Station ownership limits Own stations that reach no more than 35% of the audience Raised from 35% to 45% of national market( public outcry so now its back to 39%
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