ERIC Number: ED213059
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Random Allocation of Licenses and the Public Interest in Ownership Diversity.
Jassem, Harvey C.; Glasser, Theodore L.
For nearly half a century, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been exercising its authority to grant and deny applications for broadcast licenses. In the process of comparison used by the FCC to assess qualified new applicants, two considerations weigh heavily: (1) the best practicable service to the public, and (2) maximum diffusion of control of the mass communications media. Sometimes comparative hearings play a vital role in the Commission's efforts to consider such substantive criteria as ownership and ownership diversity. However, since the comparative hearings have proven to be neither an effective nor an efficient administrative procedure for choosing among qualified applicants, the United States Congress has authorized the FCC to use a lottery approach, a system of random selection. For the system to include underrepresented owners, the Commission could assign a particular, though arbitrary, preference to those applicants or the Commission could choose to assess the degree of each minority applicant's lack of representation and assign a preference factor to each minority applicant. The latter approach would accommodate differences among minority applicants. Nevertheless, as efficient as a lottery may be for allocating a license or permit, its effectiveness at securing the best practicable service or promoting ownership diversification--the two standard comparative issues--is suspect. Any system of random selection limits the Commission's discretion and inevitably leaves important decisions and choices to chance. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Broadcast Licensing; Federal Communications Commission; Ownership
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (67th, Anaheim, CA, November 12-15, 1981).