Early Regulations • The Wireless Ship Act of 1910 • Required ships to have wireless under certain circumstances • Radio Act of 1912 • Reaction to the Titanic disaster in 1912 • Ratified by 29 nations • Eliminated the Marconi rule of not communicating with non-Marconi ships.
Early Regulations • The Radio Act of 1912 marks first use of the word radio to describe wireless. • Still not broadcasting. Still only refers to point-to-point communication.
Early Regulations • Radio Act of 1927 • Response to chaos on the airwaves • Gave broadcasters “freedom of speech” • Established the Federal Radio Commission • 5 commissioners • Established the concept of “public interest, convenience and necessity.” • Phrase borrowed from the Railroad Act
Early Regulations • The R.A. 1927 • Established the authority of the government (FRC) to regulate broadcast content and technical specifications
The Communications Act of 1934 • Note change to “communications” from “radio” • Created the Federal Communications Commission • 7 commissioners – now back to 5 • Established and expanded the FCC powers • Based on many principles from the R.A. ‘27
The FCC • Bureaus Consumer & Governmental Affairs Enforcement International Media Wireless Telecommunications Wireline Competition
The FCC • Offices Communications Business Opportunities Engineering & TechnologyGeneral CounselInspector General Legislative Affairs Managing Director Media RelationsSecretary Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis Workplace Diversity
The FCC • Regulation by raised eyebrow • Forfeitures • Suspensions and revocations
The FCC Steps in Licensing Channel search and assignment Engineering studies Community Ascertainment of Needs Construction Permit Temporary Operations – Proofs of Performance Full time license
The FCC • Public Inspection files • Correspondence • License • Public affairs programming • Operating in the PICON
Section 315 • Equal Time • Candidates for public office • If the station sells commercial time to one candidate, it must sell time to all candidates for the same office at the same price. • Lowest unit rate
Exceptions to Section 315 • Bona fide • Newscasts • News interviews • On-the-spot coverage • Documentaries
Section 312 • Must sell time to candidates for Federal Offices. • Then all of 315 applies
Personal Attack Rule • If a candidate personally attacks (libels) another candidate- Station must notify the libeled candidate Provide tape and transcript Provide opportunity to respond
Fairness Doctrine • Broadcasters have an obligation to provide fair and balanced coverage of controversial issues of importance to the community. • Never codified • NAB successfully lobbies to keep it out of the books
Obscenity • Differences between obscenity, indecency and profanity • Covered under Section 326 of the United States Code (not the Communications Act)
Obscenity • Because broadcasting is obtrusive – coming into your home uninvited. • Because the public owns the airwaves. • Because broadcasters are trustees of the airwaves and must operate in the PICON
Obscenity • The Miller Standard • Would the average person, applying contemporary community standards, find the work patently offensive? • Does the work, taken as a whole, appeal to prurient interests? • Does the work lack legitimate artistic, literary or scientific value?
Conditional Freedom of Speech • Not on the air! • Must be true. • Fair comment. • People in the public light.