RELUCTANT REGULATORS: The FCC and the Broadcast Audience by Barry & Mel Oettinger Cole

RELUCTANT REGULATORS: The FCC and the Broadcast Audience

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If we are to believe the charges leveled in this tightly written, well-structured primer on the Federal Communications Commission, the seven commissioners are political appointees with little or no expertise in TV, who ""see no evil and hear no evil,"" are overwhelmed by an impossible job, under-staffed, self-isolated from the public, and waiting for the first opportunity to get a lucrative position in one of the industries they are supposed to regulate. Would that it were not so. The authors--Cole served as an FCC special consultant, Oettinger is a veteran broadcasting industry reporter--have almost nothing encouraging to say of this highly visible agency, nor do they offer many solutions to the myriad problems. Buffeted by a belligerent trade press, beset by well-financed lobbyists, inundated by 75,000 complaints and 3,000 license renewal applications a year--and knowing its important decisions will be challenged in the courts, the FCC conducts field investigations into less than 5 percent of the complaints it receives, and its rare license revocations are executed for only the most flagrant of abuses. The commissioners operate in the ""public interest, convenience, and necessity;"" a vague phrase that the FCC uses to justify whatever it does and enables thousands of lawyers to profit handsomely from the resulting ""murky procedures and fuzzy standards."" Washington, wring your hands.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1977
Publisher: Addison-Wesley