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.