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1927 Radio Act. Creates Federal Radio Commission. New Language: Licenses will be granted “if public convenience, interest, and necessity will be served thereby…”. Instills principle of “Localism”. 1934 Federal Communications Act. Creates Federal Communications Commission.

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1927 Radio Act

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1927 Radio Act

Creates Federal Radio Commission

New Language: Licenses will be granted “if public convenience, interest, and necessity will be served thereby…”

Instills principle of “Localism”


1934 Federal Communications Act

Creates Federal Communications Commission

New Language: Licensees must operate in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity…”

Retains principle of “localism”


Equal-Time Rule: If a news orgn provides access to a political viewpoint, it must provide equal time to opposing viewpoints.

Public Utilities

A Regulatory Framework


The Press


“Television is just another appliance. It's a toaster with pictures. Let the people decide through the marketplace mechanisms what they wish to see and hear. Why is there this national obsession to tamper with this box of transistors and tubes when we don't do the same for Time magazine?"

--Mark Fowler, FCC Chairman, 1981


1996 telecommunications act
1996 Telecommunications Act

Broadcast ownership restrictions lifted

Terms of Licenses extended to 8 years

Allows cross-media ownership

Gives away digital spectrum