does appears that for the near future, at least, the agency will continue to enforce
the equal opportunity rules and other political programming regulations unless the
U.S. Supreme Court declares the scarcity rationale invalid for imposing greater First
Amendment restrictions on broadcasting than print media. However, that scenario
appears unlikely anytime soon.
The one area of programming for both cable and broadcasting where the FCC has
tightened the reins is indecency, whose regulation has support from Congress, the
executive branch, and the public. Although the ACLU v. Reno ( 1997)
215 decision, as
discussed later in chapter 11, struck down the indecency provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 as they applied to the Internet, the U.S. Supreme Court
decision by no means affected the regulation of indecency in broadcasting and other
forms of telecommunications.
New technologies such as Direct Satellite Services (DBS), digital audio radio (DAR), personal communications services (PCS), and high-definition TV may change not only
the technology of broadcasting and telecommunications, but may very well force a
rethinking of the regulatory scheme.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission, 520 U.S. 180, 117 S.Ct. 1174, 137
L.Ed.2d 369, 25 Med.L.Rptr. 1449 ( 1997).
See Cable Television Consumer Protection Competition Act of 1992, Pub.L. 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460
See W. D. SLOAN &
J. D. STARTT, THE MEDIA IN AMERICA: A HISTORY417-418 ( 1996).
P. H. AULT, &
E. EMERY, INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATIONS 196 (9th ed. 1988).
See opinion in National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) v. United States, 319 U.S. 190, 63 S.Ct. 997, 87 L.Ed. 1344, 1 Med.L.Rptr. 1965 ( 1943).
Broadcast frequencies are now measured in hertz (kilo-, mega-, giga-, etc.), the international unit for
cycles per second, in honor of Heinrich Hertz, discussed earlier in this chapter. Until the early 1990s,
the designation was simply cycles per second (kilocycles, megacycles, etc.).
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ( FCC), BROADCASTING AND CABLE TELEVISION 3
P. H. AULT &
E. EMERY, supra, at 197.
Hoover v. Intercity Radio Co., 52 App.D.C. 339, 286 F. 1003 ( 1925), (cited in NBC v. U.S.).
United States v. Zenith Radio Corp., 12 F.2d 614 ( 1926) (cited in NBC v. U.S.).
35 Ops. Atty. Gen. 126 ( 1926) (cited in NBC v. U.S.).
47 U.S.C. § 307(a). See also NBC v. U.S.