Cover: Citizen Participation in Broadcast Licensing before the FCC.

Citizen Participation in Broadcast Licensing before the FCC.

Published 1976

by Joseph A. Grundfest

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This report focuses on an area of increasing concern in the federal regulation of television and radio broadcasting. On the one hand, the Federal Communications Commission is directed to regulate broadcast services so that the "public interest, convenience, and necessity" are served. In this decisionmaking process the public has a right to be heard. On the other hand, the potential problem arises of citizen groups using petitioning power in an irresponsible and abusive fashion, impairing the broadcaster's ability to serve the public interest as best he sees it. With this dilemma as its central point of focus, this report (1) describes some of the avenues open to citizens seeking to influence FCC policies; (2) describes the history of citizen participation, through petition and settlement, in broadcast licensing; (3) traces the evolution of an FCC policy statement regarding citizen agreements and analyzes it, especially in the light of four recent cases before the FCC; and (4) makes recommendations for future Commission policy which suggest that considerable leeway remains for Commission approval of citizen settlements, without infringing on the rights and obligations of broadcasters. 195 pp.

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