Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commission

Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Federal Communications Commission
nativename = FCC
nativename_a =
nativename_r =

logo_width = 140px
logo_caption = logo

seal_width = 140px
seal_caption = official seal
formed = June 19, 1934
preceding1 = Federal Radio Commission
preceding2 =
dissolved =
superseding =
jurisdiction =
headquarters =
employees =
budget =
minister1_name =
minister1_pfo =
minister2_name =
minister2_pfo =
chief1_name = Kevin Martin
chief1_position = Chairman
chief2_name =
chief2_position =
parent_agency =
child1_agency =
child2_agency =
website = [http://www.fcc.gov/ www.fcc.gov]
footnotes =
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a United States government agency, created, directed, and empowered by Congressional statute (see usc|47|151 and usc|47|154), and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current president.

The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States. It is an important factor in US telecommunication policy.The FCC took over wire communication regulation from the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.


It is organized into seven Bureaus and ten Staff Offices.


'The Bureaus’ include processing applications for licenses and other filings, analyzing complaints, conducting investigations, developing and implementing regulations, and participating in hearings.

* The "Consumer & Governmental Affairs" (CGB) develops and implements the FCC's consumer policies, including disability access. CGB serves as the public face of the FCC through outreach and education, as well as through their Consumer Center, which is responsible for responding to consumer inquiries and complaints. CGB also maintains collaborative partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments in such areas as emergency preparedness and implementation of new technologies.

* The "Enforcement Bureau" (EB) is responsible for enforcement of provisions of the Communications Act 1934, FCC rules, FCC orders, and terms and conditions of station authorizations. Major areas of enforcement that are handled by the Enforcement Bureau are consumer protection, local competition, public safety, and homeland security.

* The "International Bureau" (IB) develops international policies in telecommunications, such as coordination of frequency allocation and orbital assignments so as to minimize cases of international electromagnetic interference involving U.S. licensees. The International Bureau also oversees FCC compliance with the international Radio Regulations and other international agreements.

* The "Media Bureau" (MB) develops, recommends and administers the policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television, and radio in the United States and its territories. The Media Bureau also handles post-licensing matters regarding direct broadcast satellite service.

* The "Wireless Telecommunications Services (WCS) such as Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) and fixed, mobile, and broadcast services on the 700 MHz Band.

* The "Wireline Competition Bureau" (WCB) develops policy concerning wireline telecommunications. The Wireline Competition Bureau’s main objective is to promote growth and economical investments in wireline technology infrastructure, development, markets, and services.

* Establishment of the "Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau" is a priority of Chairman Kevin Martin. The Bureau was launched in 2006.


The FCC's Offices provide support services to the Bureaus. Though the Bureaus and Offices have their individual functions, they regularly work together on FCC issues.
* The "Office of Administrative Law Judges" (OALJ) is responsible for conducting hearings ordered by the Commission. The hearing function includes acting on interlocutory requests filed in the proceedings such as petitions to intervene, petitions to enlarge issues, and contested discovery requests. An Administrative Law Judge, appointed under the Administrative Procedure Act, presides at the hearing during which documents and sworn testimony are received in evidence, and witnesses are cross-examined. At the conclusion of the evidentiary phase of a proceeding, the presiding Administrative Law Judge writes and issues an Initial Decision which may be appealed to the Commission.
* The "Office of Communications Business Opportunities" (OCBO) promotes telecommunications business opportunities for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses. OCBO works with entrepreneurs, industry, public interest organizations, individuals, and others to provide information about FCC policies, increase ownership and employment opportunities, foster a diversity of voices and viewpoints over the airwaves, and encourage participation in FCC proceedings.
* The "Office of Engineering and Technology" (OET) advises the Commission concerning engineering matters.
** Its chief role is to manage the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically frequency allocation and spectrum usage. OET conducts technical studies of advanced phases of terrestrial and space communications and administers FCC rules regarding radio devices, experimental radio services, and industrial, scientific, and medical equipment.
** OET organizes the Technical Advisory Council, a committee of FCC advisors from major telecommunication and media corporations.
** OET operates the Equipment Authorization Branch, which is tasked with overseeing equipment authorization for all devices using the electromagnetic energy from 9 kHz to 300 GHz. OET maintains an electronic database of all Certified equipment which can be easily accessed by the public.
* The "Office of General Counsel" serves as the chief legal advisor to the Commission. The General Counsel also represents the Commission in litigation in United States federal courts, recommends decisions in adjudicatory matters before the Commission, assists the Commission in its decision making capacity and performs a variety of legal functions regarding internal and other administrative matters.
* The "Office of the Inspector General" (OIG) recommends policies to prevent fraud in agency operations. The Inspector General recommends corrective action where appropriate, referring criminal matters to the United States Department of Justice for potential prosecution.
* The "Office of Legislative Affairs" (OLA) is the FCC’s liaison to the United States Congress, providing lawmakers with information about FCC regulations. OLA also prepares FCC witnesses for Congressional hearings, and helps create FCC responses to legislative proposals and Congressional inquiries. In addition, OLA is a liaison to other Federal agencies, as well as state and local governments.
* The "Office of the Managing Director" (OMD) is responsible for the administration and management of the FCC, including the agency's budget, personnel, security, contracts, and publications.
* The "Office of Media Relations" (OMR) is responsible for the dissemination of Commission announcements, orders, proceedings, and other information per media requests. OMR manages the FCC Daily Digest, website, and Audio Visual Center.
* The "Office of the Secretary" (OSEC) oversees the receipt and distribution of documents filed by the public through electronic and paper filing systems and the FCC Library collection. In addition, OSEC publishes legal notices of Commission decisions in the Federal Register and the FCC Record.
* The "Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis" (OSP), essentially a think tank within the FCC, identifies policy objectives for the agency and xerxes. OSP works closely with the FCC Chairman and is responsible for monitoring the state of the communications industry to identify trends, issues and overall industry health. OSP acts as expert consultants to the Commission in areas of economic, business, and market analysis. The Office also reviews legal trends and developments not necessarily related to current FCC proceedings, such as intellectual property law, the Internet, and electronic commerce. Previously OSP was called the Office of Plans and Policy (OPP). Catherine Bohigian has been the chief of the OSP since 2005. [ [http://www.fcc.gov/osp/ FCC Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis] ]
* The "Office of Workplace Diversity" (OWD) develops policy to provide a full and fair opportunity for all employees, regardless of non-merit factors such as race, religion, gender, color, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin, to carry out their duties in the workplace free from unlawful discriminatory treatment, including sexual harassment and retaliation for engaging in legally protected activities.


Communications Act of 1934

In 1934 Congress passed the Communications Act, which abolished the Federal Radio Commission and transferred jurisdiction over radio licensing to a new Federal Communications Commission, including in it also the telecommunications jurisdiction previously handled by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Title II of the Communications Act focused on telecommunications using many concepts borrowed from railroad legislation and Title III contained provisions very similar to the Radio Act of 1927.

Report on Chain Broadcasting

In 1940 the Federal Communications Commission issued the "Report on Chain Broadcasting." The major point in the report was the breakup of NBC (National Broadcasting Company), which ultimately led to the creation of ABC (American Broadcasting Company), but there were two other important points. One was network option time, the culprit here being CBS. The report limited the amount of time during the day, and what times the networks may broadcast. Previously a network could demand any time it wanted from an affiliate. The second concerned artist bureaus. The networks served as both agents and employees of artists, which was a conflict of interest the report rectified.

The "Freeze" of 1948

In assigning television stations to various cities after World War II, the FCC found that it placed many stations too close to each other, resulting in interference. At the same time, it became clear that the designated VHF channels, 2 through 13, were inadequate for nationwide television service. As a result, the FCC stopped giving out construction permits for new licenses in October 1948. Most expected this "Freeze" to last six months, but as the allocation of channels to the emerging UHF technology and the eagerly-awaited possibilities of color television were debated, the FCC's re-allocation map of stations did not come until April 1952, with July 1,1952 as the official beginning of licensing new stations.

The FCC's "Sixth Report & Order" ended the Freeze. It would take five years for the U.S. to grow from 108 stations to more than 550. New stations came on line slowly, only five by the end of November, 1952. The Sixth Report and Order required some existing TV stations to change channels, but only a few existing VHF stations were required to move to UHF, and a handful of VHF channels were deleted altogether in smaller markets like Peoria, Fresno, and Bakersfield to create markets which were UHF "islands." The report also set aside a number of channels for the newly emerging field of educational television, which hindered struggling ABC and DuMont's quest for affiliates in the more desirable markets where VHF channels were reserved for non-commercial use.

The Sixth Report and Order also provided for the "intermixture" of VHF and UHF channels in most markets; UHF transmitters in the 1950s were not yet powerful enough, nor receivers sensitive enough (if they included UHF tuners at all - they were not formally required until the early 1960s), to make UHF viable against entrenched VHF stations. In markets where there were no VHF stations and UHF was the only TV service available, UHF survived. In other markets, which were too small to financially support a television station, too close to VHF outlets in nearby cities, or where UHF was forced to compete with more than one well-established VHF station, UHF had little chance for success.

Denver had been the largest U.S. city without a TV station by 1952. Senator Edwin Johnson (D-Colorado), chair of the Senate's Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, had made getting Denver the first post-Freeze station his personal mission. He had pressured the FCC, and proved ultimately successful as the first new station (a VHF station) came on-line a remarkable ten days after the Commission formally announced the first post-Freeze construction permits. KFEL(now KWGN-TV)'s first regular telecast was on July 21,1952. [http://members.aol.com/cingram/television/dumont6.htm Clarke Ingram, "The DuMont Television Network: Historical Web Site". Retrieved 6-21-2008.] [http://www.southplainscollege.edu/dub/postfreeze.htm Douglas Gomery, "Television Sweeps the Nation: The Story Behind the Pioneering Post-"Freeze" Stations". From the W. D. "Dub" Rogers, Jr. Television Collectionat South Plains College. Retrieved 6-21-2008.]

Telecommunications Act of 1996

In 1996 Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996, in the wake of the break-up of AT&T resulting from the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust suit against AT&T. In part, the 1996 legislation attempted to create more competition in local telephone service by requiring Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers to provide access to their facilities for Competitive Local Exchange Carriers.

This policy has thus far had limited success and much criticism. See. e.g. [http://www.brookings.edu/experts/crandallr.aspx Robert crandall] The development of the internet, cable services and wireless services has raised questions whether new legislative initiates are needed as to competition in what has come to be called 'broadband' services. Congress has monitored developments but not as of 2007 undertaken a major revision of applicable regulation.

Consolidation permissivity, indecency crackdowns

The inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States in 1981 accelerated an already on-going shift in the FCC towards a decidedly more market-oriented stance. A number of regulations felt to be outdated were removed, most controversially the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. The FCC also took steps to increase competition to broadcasters, fostering broadcast alternatives such as cable television.

In the early 2000s, the FCC began stepping up censorship and enforcement of indecency regulations again, most notably following the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" that occurred during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII. However, the FCC's regulatory domain with respect to indecency remains restricted to the public airwaves, notably VHF and UHF television and AM/FM radio.

On June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback, a former broadcaster himself, and endorsed by Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan who authored a similar bill in the United States House of Representatives. The new law stiffens the penalties for each violation of the Act. The Federal Communications Commission will be able to impose fines in the amount of $325,000 for each violation by each station, which violates decency standards. The legislation raises the fine by a tenfold increase. [Combs, Roberta. [http://www.cc.org/content.cfm?id=338 Christian Coalition of America] , "Washington Weekly Review", June 17, 2006] [cite web |title=Bill Number S. 193 |work=Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate) from Congressional THOMAS DB
url=http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bill.xc?billnum=S.193&congress=109 | accessmonthday=April 11 |accessyear=2005

FCC Commissioners

The FCC is directed by five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 5-year terms, except when filling an unexpired term. The President designates one of the Commissioners to serve as Chairperson. Only three Commissioners may be members of the same political party. None of them may have a financial interest in any Commission-related business.cite web |url=http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/ |title=FCC Commissioners, Additional Information |accessdate=2007-07-18 |format= |work=]

Current Chairman and Commissioners

*Chairman Kevin J. Martin (R-NC) (term expires April 2011)
*Commissioner Michael J. Copps (D-WI) (term expires December 2009)
*Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein (D-SD) (term expires December 2009)
*Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate (R-TN) (term expires June 2012)
*Commissioner Robert M. McDowell (R-VA) (term expires June 2009) [ [http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/mcdowell/ FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell ] ] Fact|date=June 2007

Three of them are Republicans and two are Democrats. Only three commissioners can be from the same political party. All are appointed by the President to five year terms, or to finish out vacated five year terms. http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/

Past Chairmen

Kevin J. Martin (R-NC) is the 27th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The following is a complete list of past chairmen:

* Michael K. Powell (R-VA) (January 22, 2001 - March 17, 2005)
* William E. Kennard (D-CA) (November 3, 1997 - January 19, 2001) - Managing director of the Global Telecommunications Group for The Carlyle Group
* Reed E. Hundt (D-MD) (November 29, 1993 - November 3, 1997) - Senior advisor on information industries at McKinsey & Company
* James H. Quello (D-MI) (February 5, 1993 - November 28, 1993; served on the Commission from 1974 - 1997) - Consultant for Wiley Rein, LLP
* Alfred C. Sikes (R-MO) (August 8, 1989 - January 19, 1993) - Chair of the Trinity Foundation and a business consultant for the Hearst Corporation
* Dennis R. Patrick (R-CA) (April 18, 1987 - August 7, 1989) - Chair of National Geographic Ventures
* Mark S. Fowler (R-Canada) (May 18, 1981 - April 17, 1987)
* Charles D. Ferris (D-MA) (October 17, 1977 - February 4, 1981) - Chairman of the Federal Law Section and member of the Policy Committee at Mintz, Levin, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
* Richard E. Wiley (R-IL) (March 8, 1974 - October 13, 1977) - Partner at Wiley Rein, LLP
* Rosel H. Hyde (R-ID) (Chairman, June 27, 1966 - October 31, 1969; Acting Chairman, May 1, 1966 - June 26, 1966; Acting Chairman, April 19, 1954 - October 3, 1954; Chairman, April 18, 1953 - April 18, 1954)
* Dean Burch (R-AZ) (October 13, 1969 - March 8, 1974)
* E. William Henry (D-TN) (June 2, 1963 - May 1, 1966)
* Newton N. Minow (D-IL) (March 2, 1961 - June 1, 1963) - Senior Counsel at Sidley Austin LLP
* Frederick W. Ford (R-WV) (March 15, 1960 - March 1, 1961)
* George McConnaughey (R-OH) (October 4, 1951 - June 30, 1957)
* Robert E. Lee (R-IL) (Chairman, April 13, 1981 - May 18, 1981; Interim Chairman, February 5, 1981 - April 12, 1981) - Served as on the Commission from 1953-1981
* John C. Doerfer (R-WI) (July 1, 1957 - March 10, 1960)
* Wayne Coy (D-IN) (December 29, 1947 - February 21, 1952)
* Charles R. Denny (D-DC) (Chairman, December 4, 1946 - October 31, 1947; Acting Chairman, February 26, 1946 - December 3, 1946)
* Paul A. Porter (D-KY) (Devember 21, 1944 - February 25, 1946)
* Ewell K. Jett (I-MD) (Interim Chairman, November 16, 1944 - December 20, 1944)
* James Lawrence Fly (D-TX) (September 1, 1939 - November 13, 1944)
* Frank McNinch (D-NC) (October 1, 1937 - August 31, 1939)
* Anning S. Prall (D-NY) (March 9, 1935 - July 23, 1937)
* Paul A. Walker (D-OK) (Chairman, February 28, 1952 - April 17, 1953; Acting Chairman, November 3, 1947 - December 28, 1947)
* Eugene O. Sykes (D-MS) (July 11, 1934 - March 8, 1935)

Past Commissioners

A complete list of commissioners is available [http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/commish-list.html on the FCC website] . Notable commissioners have included:
* Frieda B. Hennock (D-NY)
* Eugene O. Sykes (R-MS)
* Paul A. Walker (D-OK)
* Anning S. Prall (D-NY)
* Frank McNinch (D-NC)
* James Lawrence Fly (D-TX)
* Paul A. Porter (D-KY)
* Charles R. Denny (D-DC)
* Rosel H. Hyde (R-ID)
* Wayne Coy (D-IN)
* John C. Doerfer (R-WI)
* Robert E. Lee (R-IL)
* George McConnaughey (R-OH)
* Frederick W. Ford (R-WV)
* Newton N. Minow (D-IL) 1961-
* Dean Burch (R-AZ) 1969-1974
* Richard E. Wiley (R-IL) 1974-1977
* Charles Ferris (D-MA) 1977-1981
* Mark Fowler (R-Canada) 1981-1989 Eliminated fairness doctrine [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_doctrine]
* Alfred Sikes (R-MO) 1989-1993
* James H. Quello(D-MI) 1993-1993
* Reed E. Hundt (D-CA) 1993-1997
* William E. Kennard (D-CA) 1997-2001
* Michael Powell (R-VA) 2001-2005

Regulatory powers

As to radio and television broadcasting, the Federal Communications Commission has one major regulatory weapon, revoking licenses, but short of that has limited leverage. (see FCC MB Docket 04-232). Sanctions run a report-basis system. Additionally, broadcast licenses are supposed to be renewed if the station meets the "public interest, convenience, or necessity." The Federal Communications Commission rarely checks except for some obvious and outstanding reason; burden of proof would be on the complainant. Fewer than 1% of station renewals are not immediately granted, and only a small fraction of those are ultimately denied.

The Federal Communications Commission also licenses amateur radio operators and stations, and does use its power to fine amateur radio operators who flagrantly violate its rules. It also licenses commercial operators who operate and repair certain radiotelephone, television, radar, and Morse code radio stations. In recent years it has also licensed people who maintain or operate GMDSS stations. While the FCC maintains control of the written and Morse testing standards, it no longer administers the exams, having delegated that function to private organizations.

Spectrum Management

Similar authority for regulation of U.S. government radio communications is vested in the President who has delegated it to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Regulatory Standards:
* FCC Part 15
* FCC Part 2
* FCC part 18
* FCC Part 22
* FCC Part 74
* FCC Part 95
* FCC Part 68
* FCC Part 73
* FCC Part 80
* FCC Part 90 (Private Land Mobile Radio Service, including State & Local Public Safety operations)

Source: from Federal Standard 1037C

pectrum auctions

Beginning in 1994, commercial spectrum has been allocated via competitive auctions rather than the previous method of "best public use." This was a cumbersome bureaucratic process in which competitors attempted to show that they were most capable of making best public use of the license they wished to obtain. The structure and licenses available in each auction are determined by vote of the Commission, with the licenses awarded to the highest bidders. Auctions are usually conducted on a simultaneous multiple-round basis, with all offered licenses being auctioned at the same time. Auctions proceed in bidding rounds of decreasing duration until no more bids are received. Revenues are deposited in the US Treasury to be spent by Congress.

The FCC has been criticized for awarding a digital TV (DTV) channel to each holder of an analog TV station license without an auction, as well as trading auctionable spectrum to Nextel to resolve public safety interference problems. Nonetheless, in 2009, all analog terrestrial broadcast licenses in the U.S. will be terminated, with terrestrial television subsequently available only from the digital channels.


The FCC has been criticized on many fronts, for existing at all or being too restrictive and too permissive in its regulation. The regulatory body was originally formed to allot segments of the radio spectrum which were deemed scarce. Critics argue that today, the allotment of frequency band segments to specific uses hinders and prevents new spectrum uses for innovative technologies. Regulatory changes can have a dramatic effect on industries. For example, the requirement for televisions to be digital will make millions of analog sets obsolete overnight.

In the actions taken against broadcasters, critics charge that the FCC violates the First Amendment guarantee of Freedom of Speech, both directly by censorship and enforcement action sometimes alleged to be politically motivated, and indirectly by the general intimidation that FCC action allegedly creates, particularly with the U.S. Congress considering increasing fines exponentially.

The FCC has considered requiring all broadcasters to retain copies of all broadcasts for up to three months (FCC MB Docket 04-232). Critics charge that this action would wipe out smaller broadcasters because of the enormous expense of having to purchase new equipment with the necessary features for content storage and the need for facilities to store content.

Low-power broadcasting has also been a source of contention, as the FCC has set the power limits very low, while allegedly making it nearly impossible for anyone except large corporations or large nonprofit organizations to obtain a license. Although Stephen Dunifer won a case versus the FCC, few others have successfully argued against the Commission.

Another critique is that the Commission has historically been dominated by lawyers, often from the telecommunications industry, due to the FCC's direct effects on commerce and public policy. This is in stark contrast to other technically-focused government agencies, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is often populated by engineers and physicists.Fact|date=February 2007

The FCC is also often criticized by amateur Radio operators for rule changes affecting the Amateur Radio Service, or for its perceived lack of enforcement of violations within the service and in general.

On the issue of broadcast indecency, the FCC has taken heat from conservatives and family-oriented groups for not sufficiently censoring and restricting sexually explicit and violent material to which the groups believe children should not be exposed (a Family Viewing Hour was instituted in the 1970s and then discontinued).

While the FCC, under much criticism, has been tightening its control and censorship of broadcast television, the FCC does not have general authority to censor the internet, allowing broadcasters to use the internet as a source for their un-edited creative expression. In December 2006, NBC and "Saturday Night Live" posted an uncensored video on the NBC website and popular video sharing website YouTube under the headings “Special Treat in a Box” or “Special Christmas Box”, otherwise known by its uncensored name, "Dick in a Box". The censored version of the video played on NBC's "Saturday Night Live", and was bleeped (censored) sixteen times. Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer of "Saturday Night Live", predicted that other shows and networks, time and money permitting, would surely follow NBC’s lead in making available material that was deemed not ready for prime time, or even late night.

The NBC show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" had a story line where the FCC was fining the fictional NBS network an absurd amount of money for an obscenity said by a U.S. Marine during a live news broadcast in Afghanistan. They badmouth the FCC for being upset for a real-life reaction of a near-death incident in wartime being accidentally picked up in a required News broadcast. (The FCC requires that Educational programming be provided free by networks in exchange for the right to broadcast over the airwaves.) The problem becomes worse when they give them the option of losing the fee in exchange for a five second delay of live news feeds.


Unreleased reports

2003 study of commercial radio concentration

In 2003, the FCC Media Bureau produced a draft report analyzing the impact of deregulation in the radio industry. [ [http://www.stopbigmedia.com/files/radio_ownership.pdf Fifth Review of the Radio Industry] , FCC Media Bureau, undated] The report stated that from March 1996 through March 2003, the number of commercial radio stations on the air rose 5.9 percent while the number of station owners fell 35 percent. The concentration of ownership followed a 1996 rewrite of telecommunications law that eliminated a 40-station national ownership cap.

The report was never made public, nor have any similar analyses followed, despite the fact that radio industry reports were released in 1998, 2001 and 2002. In September 2006, Senator Barbara Boxer, who had received a copy of the report, released it.John Dunbar, [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/09/18/senator_says_media_study_suppressed/ Senator says media study suppressed "Senator says media study suppressed"] , Associated Press, September 18, 2006]

2004 study of television media concentration

In 2004, the FCC ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study by Keith Brown and Peter Alexander, two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau. The two had analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998, showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news.

The conclusion of the study was at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. (In June 2004, a federal appeals court rejected the agency's reasoning on most of the rules and ordered it to try again.)

In September 2006, Senator Barbara Boxer, who had received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, asked whether any other commissioners "past or present" knew of the report's existence and why it was never made public. She also asked whether it was "shelved because the outcome was not to the liking of some of the commissioners and/or any outside powerful interests?" Boxer's office said if she does not receive adequate answers to her questions, she will push for an investigation by the FCC inspector general. [John Dunbar, [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0915-01.htm "Lawyer says FCC ordered study destroyed"] , Associated Press, September 14, 2006]

Action by FCC Chairman

In a letter in response to Senator Boxer, FCC Chairman Martin said "I want to assure you that I too am concerned about what happened to these two draft reports." The letter also said "I have asked the inspector general of the FCC to conduct an investigation into what happened to these draft documents and will cooperate fully with him." Martin added that he was not chairman at the time the reports were drafted, and that neither he nor his staff had seen them.

NSA wiretapping

When it emerged in 2006 that AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon may have broken U.S. laws by aiding the National Security Agency in possible illegal wiretapping of its customers, Congressional representatives called for an FCC investigation into whether or not those companies broke the law. The FCC declined to investigate, however, claiming that it could not investigate due to the classified nature of the programndash a move that provoked the criticism of members of Congress.

“Today the watchdog agency that oversees the country’s telecommunications industry refused to investigate the nation’s largest phone companies’ reported disclosure of phone records to the NSA," said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in response to the decision. "The FCC, which oversees the protection of consumer privacy under the Communications Act of 1934, has taken a pass at investigating what is estimated to be the nation’s largest violation of consumer privacy ever to occur. If the oversight body that monitors our nation’s communications is stepping aside then Congress must step in.” [http://markey.house.gov/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1610&Itemid=125]

Copyright issue

The character "Broadband" ( [http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/kidszone/ FCC Kids Zone] ), was noted by Anime News Network as looking like a discolored Doraemon, a popular manga character in Japan. [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-09-20/fcc-uses-doraemon-on-site|title=FCC uses Doraemon on Site|accessdate=2008-07-02|author= |publisher=Anime News Network|date=September 20th, 2004] Doraemon was created for print in magazines in 1969, which makes Doraemon predate the FCC's character. Both Shogakukan (copyright manager) and Fujiko-production (owner of the copyright) have warned the FCC over the alleged copyright infringement, [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-11-28/shogakukan-to-complain-to-fcc-re-fcc-kidszone-mascot|title=Shogakukan to Complain to FCC re: FCC Kidszone Mascot|accessdate=2008-07-02|author= |publisher=Anime News Network|date=November 28th, 2004] but the FCC has refused to answer to the allegations or remove the characterBroadband. [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-01-01/fcc-ignores-doraemon-complaint|title=FCC Ignores Doraemon Complaint|accessdate=2008-07-02|author= |publisher=Anime News Network|date=January 1st, 2005]


With the major demographic shifts occurring in the country in terms of the racial-ethnic composition of the population, where 9 of the 10 largest cities, for example, now have "majority minority" populations, the FCC has also been criticized for ignoring the issue of decreasing racial-ethnic diversity of the media. This includes charges that the FCC has been watering down the limited affirmative action regulations it had on the books, including no longer requiring stations to make public their data on their minority staffing and hiring. In the second half of 2006, groups such as the [http://www.nhmc.org National Hispanic Media Coalition] , the National Latino Media Council, the [http://www.nahj.org National Association of Hispanic Journalists] , the National Institute for Latino Policy, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and others held [http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/10/77496.html town hall meetings] in California, New York and Texas on media diversity as its affects Latinos andother communities of color. They documented widespread and deeply-felt community concerns about the negative effects of media concentration and consolidation on racial-ethnic diversity in staffing and programming. See "El Diario La Prensa"'s [http://www.eldiariony.com/noticias/detail.aspx?section=25&desc=Editorial&id=1512119 editorial] on media diversity. At these Latino town hall meetings, the issue of the FCC's lax monitoring of obscene and pornographic material in Spanish-language radio and the lack of racial and national-origin diversity among Latino staff in Spanish-language television were other major themes.

FCC broadcasting tower database

The FCC database of broadcasting towers [http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/AsrSearch/asrRegistrationSearch.jsp] provides information about the height and year built of broadcasting towers in the USA. It does not contain information about the structural types of towers or about the height of towers used for non-broadcasting purposes like NDBs, LORAN-C transmission towers or VLF transmission facilities of the US Navy, or about towers not used for transmission like the BREN Tower.


ee also

* frequency assignment authority
* open spectrum
* Ofcom (British equivalent)
* Mercedes divide
* FCC MB Docket 04-232

External links

* [http://www.fcc.gov/ FCC website]
* [http://www.digitalstar.com/Antenna Antenna Geocode Locator]
* [http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2001/fcc01090.html Enforcement Policies Regarding Broadcast Indecency]
* [http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title47/47tab_02.tpl FCC Rules(CFR Title 47) On-Line at GPO]
* [http://digital.library.unt.edu/browse/department/govdocs/fccrecord/ The FCC Record] online at the UNT Libraries Digital Collections
* [http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2157734 New Wave: The case for killing the FCC and selling off spectrum] By Jack Shafer, 17 January 2007
* [http://thefederalregister.com/b.p/department/FEDERAL_COMMUNICATIONS_COMMISSION/ Federal Communications Commission Meeting Notices and Rule Changes] from The Federal Register [http://thefederalregister.com/rss/department/FEDERAL_COMMUNICATIONS_COMMISSION/ RSS Feed]
* [http://www.cybertelecom.org/ Cybertelecom :: FCC and the Internet]
* [http://fccddct.blogspot.com/ FCC Daily Digest provided as an RSS feed]

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