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Changing Channels and Bridging Divides: The Failure and Redemption of American Broadcast Television Regulation


Anthony E. Varona


American University - Washington College of Law


Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2004-2005

Abstract:     
In Changing Channels and Bridging Divides: The Failure and Redemption of American Broadcast Television Regulation Professor Varona analyzes how the Supreme Court, Congress and the FCC have defined the legal duties of commercial broadcasters throughout the maturation of the television industry. First, he shows how the public trustee doctrine has failed, with broadcasters today airing very little 'public interest' programming. Second, he examines how and why the FCC has failed to effectively elucidate and enforce the public trustee doctrine, focusing on the irreconcilable First Amendment and commercial tensions inherent in the public trustee doctrine since its inception and the 'capture' of the FCC and Congress itself by the broadcast industry and the conglomerates that control it. Finally, he discusses and critiques existing proposals for reform and then advance his own proposal, which would require television broadcasters to subsidize broadband Internet access for low-income and otherwise underserved households.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 116

Keywords: law, media, telecommunications, broadcasting, first amendment, administrative law

JEL Classification: K23

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Date posted: November 6, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Varona, Anthony E., Changing Channels and Bridging Divides: The Failure and Redemption of American Broadcast Television Regulation. Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2004-2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=921132

Contact Information

Anthony E. Varona (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
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