Why Is The FCC Required?

The FCC or Federal Communications Commission is an independent government agency of the US that is responsible for the regulation of all communications within or those that originate from the US. Meaning that the FCC has the responsibility to administer radio and tv airwaves, transmissions of cable and satellite tv, and communications by telegraph. It was created as the successor for the old Federal Radio Commission. The FCC was created by Congress via the Communications Act of 1934.

The powers of the FCC comes from the commission’s ability to issue, renew or decline licenses to broadcasting stations. Before the advent of cable and satellite television, the FCC effectively could dictate the content of broadcasts. However, when cable and satellite television came into the picture, the FCC could no longer dictate content for these cable and satellite broadcasts as they do not transmit over public airwaves.

Although the FCC can still levy fines to affiliate networks when they violate obscenity and indecency guidelines, the commission is lately less inclined to do so nowadays.

The Commission also regulates radio stations, and uses its powers more than in television. But, with the rise in the number of satellite radio stations it is likely that the Commission’s control over the medium will also fade as it did with television.

According to the FCC, individual tv and radio station license holders are responsible for the selections of what they broadcast and in the determination of how their stations are able to best serve the communities they provide services to. These license holders are accountable for their choices of entertainment programming and whatever programming they have concerning issues that are local to the area they serve, sports, news, religion, public affairs and whatever other subjects that may be aired by the license holder.

It can, however, accept complaints should a broadcast be considered obscene, profane, or indecent by viewers or listeners. They can file complaints free of charge with the FCC.

4 Responses to Why Is The FCC Required?

  1. I found this post very informative which I found on bing. I bookmarked your blog so I can come back soon.

  2. PJ Huff says:

    What constitutes “indecency”? Is it profane language or can
    it be more than that? Shouldn’t talk radio and politically
    motivated programming on the national airwaves also be considered
    for inacccurate or inflammatory content? In light of various
    violent events of the past several years, responsibility needs to
    be addressed regarding the message that is being delivered to the
    general public, and all of the implications of what that message
    can contribute to. Do we not learn from history that words matter?
    What commes to mind is the 1938 broadcast by Orson Welles of “War
    of the Worlds”. It’s been studied that out of the 6 million who
    heard the broadcast of an alien invasion, 1.7 million believed that
    it was factual, and 1.2 million were genuinely frightened. There
    are far many more people listening to talk radio and television
    today, and with that in mind, the FCC needs to regulate those using
    national airwaves, and to hold them responsible and accountable for
    their message and content.

  3. Rod Fausey says:

    Dear Sir: I have three questions. The first one deals with
    the license renewal of a station owned by a TV evangelist. The
    station is a full time AM station and it provides no local news,
    sports or public affairs programing. Their programing orriginates
    in Baton Rouge, Louisianna and the station, is located in the State
    of Ohio. So the Ohio station just pipes the audio via a satellite.
    The station is used like a translator. It has no local
    identification with the community. I thought that radio stations
    were licensed to meet the needs of the community. They are supposed
    to be up for renewal in 2012. Can I file for the license or ask
    that the FCC not renewal their license? The other question I wish
    to ask deals with license authority. I’ve read that the FCC’s
    authority involves Interstate Commerce and Interstate Broadcasting.
    Does that mean that the FCC’s authority over Intrastate Commerce
    and Intrastate Broadcasting doesn’t exist? My third question deals
    with the Communications Act of 1939 and part 15 legal no license
    low power broadcasting. Shoudn’t there be a new Communications Act
    passed that would be more realistic for the current times? The idea
    of low power non-commercial FM sounds great, however, these
    stations are generally run by groups of non-professionals who often
    have financial problems. I propose that you allow the Part 15 FM
    transmitters to 2 watts ERP and owned by individuals who possess
    “General Radio-Telephone License’s” (formerly known as the “First
    Class FCC License”. One watt ERP, with at least 40 to 50 feet of
    antenna and no ground restrictions. Both the AM and FM operations
    would be allowed to run commercially in small communities in
    population areas of 35,000 or less where theres very limited
    service by full powered license stations. For example a rural
    community with a population of between 15 to 20 thousand people
    with just one full power AM station and one or two full power FM
    stations, could also be serviced by Part-15 low power stations.
    Because these stations would have a very limited range, they could
    service certain parts of the community with news, public affairs,
    and sports, not being covered by the full powered facilities. All
    someone would have to do is either be the holder of a “FCC General
    Radio-Telephone License” or employ someone part-time with a valid
    license. The owner operator would agree to purchase FCC approved
    equipment, hire a consultant to do a frequency study and do the
    necessary proof of performance in order not to interfere with other
    low power part 15 or LPFM or full power commercial stations, local
    TV stations or airport or other municipal communications. The
    operator would submit the application, with the technical data to
    the nearest FCC Regional Office. The FCC would charge an
    application fee of $100 for an AM Part 15 permit and $200 for a FM
    Part 15 permit. This fee would be paid every year by the Part 15
    radio station owner-operator. The station could not be sold to any
    individual or company that owns a full power AM or FM station. The
    station couldn’t be use like a translator. Exception would be to
    simulcast programming from the FM station to the AM or vice-versa
    or two AM’s or two FM’s. Ownership limited to either two AM’s or
    two FM’s or one AM and one FM. No multi-station monopoly ownership
    like the licensed full power stations. Canada and the United
    Kingdom allow the legal operation of non licensed low power radio
    stations with power between 10 to 50 watts. Here in the land of the
    free we only allow 100 mw AM with a 9 foot antenna and about 25 mw
    for FM. So please let me know what you think and please answer my
    questions. Regards, Rod

  4. Jen says:

    Dear Rod, if the radio station is in Louisiana, it falls under a different code than does the rest of the U.S. It is a cross between the Napoleonic Code and Roman law. You would have to deal with the State of Louisiana directly as the Federal Communications Commission deals with U.S. law and would not be the correct place to start. Another answer to your problem is just to not listen to that station if it aggravates you so much.

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