The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, May 03, 2004

The FCC shambles goes beyond censorship, apparently

Whilst we never wittingly take anything on trust round here, particular care is necessary with material that suits our book.

Now, anything discreditable about the FCC is grist to the mill; and a piece (April 28) in the Cleveland Free Times raises a couple of snafus I hadn't heard of before.

First, our friends Clear Channel are, it seems, in breach of FCC rules which cap at eight the number of radio stations a company can own in any one market: in the Cleveland market, as delimited, Clear Channel has twelve.

Second, FCC managers are apparently in the habit of accepting free trips paid for by broadcasters. Chairman 'Sonny Boy' Powell promised to stop the practice, but it's continued.

The more I learn about the FCC (which, to date, is nowhere near enough to come to any overall judgement), the more dysfunctional it appears to be - and to have been since long before Powell took over as Chairman in 2001.

I might hypothesise - I recall having done so, in fact - that a conspiracy of incompetence at the FCC was a regime that suited the book both of broadcasters and of the bureaucracy. And that those with oversight of the FCC - Congress and the White House - long chose to turn a blind eye to its glaring deficiencies.

The evidence I've seen is inadequate: but what there is of it all points in that direction.

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