Federal Communications Commission

Comment on: Commercial Broadcast TV and Radio, Cable and Satellite

January 20th, 2010 by William Freedman - Associate Bureau Chief, Media Bureau

The Future of Media project encourages comments and suggestions on the key questions about the changing media landscape.  This post includes questions about commercial TV and radio.  (The full public notice can be found here.)


17)  With regard to national commercial television and radio, what have been the trends, and what is the current state of affairs, regarding news staffing (for network, cable and satellite) and coverage (international, national and local)?  What types of coverage or programming have been changed, and in what manner? Over what time period?


18)  For local commercial broadcast television and radio stations, what have been the trends for staffing, the amount of local news and information aired, the audience ratings for such programming and local station profitability?  What have been the roles of station debt, advertising revenue declines, government policies, efficiency improvements, and ownership consolidation (including combining the news staffs of commonly owned or operated stations)? What has been the impact of competition for audience from the Internet or other information sources?  How are these broadcasters using the Internet, mobile applications, their multicast channels/additional program streams, or other new technologies to provide local news and information?  How have these changes affected the availability of educational programming for children?


19)  Broadcasters have certain public interest obligations, including that they provide programming responsive to the needs and issues of their communities and comply with the Commission’s children’s programming requirements.  Cable and satellite operators have their own responsibilities (some of which are discussed below). Should these or other existing obligations be strengthened, relaxed, or otherwise re-conceptualized in this digital era?  Should such obligations be applied to a broader range of media or technology companies, or be limited in scope?  What should be the nature of those obligations, and what would be the most effective mechanisms for ensuring the availability of news and information?  Have the FCC’s past regulatory or deregulatory approaches (e.g., public interest guidelines, disclosure requirements, expedited license renewal procedures) been effective, and if not, why not? 


20)  When determining whether the public’s needs are being met, should policymakers assess the adequacy of community information by looking primarily at particular media delivery systems (e.g., broadcast, cable, satellite), by focusing on general media types (e.g., television, radio, print), or by looking at information availability within a community as a whole (e.g., neighborhood, city/town, state)? 


Please weigh in on any of these questions, or offer your own.

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