ERIC Number: ED231004
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Competition and Diversity among Radio Formats: Legal and Structural Issues.
Glasser, Theodore L.
That competition in broadcasting may not bring about sufficiently heterogeneous programing has long been the subject of debate among policymakers, and nowhere has that debate been more acrimonious than in its application to the diversification of radio formats. While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prefers to leave questions of diversity to the demands of the marketplace, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has been encouraging the FCC to accommodate exceptions to--and thus exemptions from--its policy of nonintervention. In its 1981 "FCC v. WNCN Listeners Guild" decision, the Supreme Court rebuked the Court of Appeals and tacitly endorsed the FCC's desire to rely on marketplace forces to promote diversity in entertainment programing. Consequently, the Court finds itself supporting a policy that favors competition, not diversity; free enterprise, not consumer welfare; the broadcaster, not the listener. In contract to the "Red Lion" decision of 1969, when the Court upheld a listener's "right to hear," the WNCN decision fails to require the FCC to look beyond the marketplace for the standards by which it assesses program diversity. In practice, the FCC's format policy confuses variety with diversity, and fails to recognize that competition in the marketplace mitigates against the ideal of pluralistic programing. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: FCC v WNCN Listeners Guild; Supreme Court
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).