November 25, 2015

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First Mediaworks

08/30/99 Will Politics Destroy The FCC?
       The FCC is about to send shock waves through Radio that will peg the needle on the Richter scale. All their past screw-ups will soon pale in comparison to the micro-Radio rulemaking that is about to take place.
       At first glance, micro-Radio creates the appearance that it's good for America, great for diversity, and as American as apple pie. After all, what could be better than giving minorities a voice in their community? The problem is that the applicants who receive these stations won1t have a coverage area that can actually make a difference. All it will do is fracture the signals of existing Radio stations, the ones that are currently serving the people of America.
       In its landmark decision of 1969, "Red Lion vs. Federal Communications Commission," the Supreme Court affirmed that: "It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount." In his attempt to give "rights" to minority broadcasters, [FCC Chairman] Bill Kennard has betrayed the right of America's listeners to hear a strong, clear signal.
       Capitol Hill scuttlebutt puts VP Al Gore behind Kennard's push to ramrod micro-radio through the FCC as a tool for his November election campaign. Politically, micro-radio is an attempt to make Gore look like he's "helping the little guy." If Gore is in fact elected, it will be interesting to see how he rewards Kennard for selling out America's broadcasters. I can hear Gore's speech now: "I personally opened the airwaves to the people." Think this sounds farfetched? Remember, this is the same Al Gore who is currently trying to convince us that he personally created the Internet.
       The National Association of Broadcasters is fighting micro-radio harder than Napoleon fought at Waterloo. My fear is that, like Napoleon, the NAB is destined to fail. My prediction is that micro-radio will very soon be a reality. If I'm right and micro-radio happens, broadcasters will then be forced to pull out the big guns for the battle of their lives. Their last remaining option will be to challenge the FCC all the way to the Supreme Court, shouting "Red Lion!" all the way.
       If micro-radio happens and broadcasters are forced to appeal to the Supreme Court, I believe there's a good chance the FCC will be dismantled as a result. Kennard will definitely have earned his place in history, not only as the man who destroyed Radio, but as the man who single-handedly put a "space for rent" sign on the FCC building in Washington.

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