Public Policy and Radio— A Regulator’s View
In light of the changed landscape of the radio industry and the current economic climate, it is not surprising that the goals of localism and viewpoint diversity have come under increasing scrutiny. Today, regulators must endeavor to strike a balance between the economic interests of the radio industry and the important public-interest goals of localism and diversity. In addition to the economic climate, emerging digital audio technologies also may influence the traditional public policy goals of localism and program diversity. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also has promoted the public interest by supporting the diversification of broadcast ownership. New radio ownership rules are resulting in a consolidation of ownership and operations; the trade press keeps a daily count of duopoly and local marketing agreements deals. As the consolidation trend continues, it will become increasingly difficult to promote and protect the public-interest goals of localism and diversity.