In exchange for obtaining a valuable license to operate a broadcast station using the public airwaves, each radio and television licensee is required by law to operate its station in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” This means that it must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license. In addition, how other media facilitate community discussions.

The FCC and cities: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) suffers from significant failures of design and execution. Due to these failures, I expect the BDAC and the FCC will adopt a framework in which industry gets all the benefits with no obligations, and municipalities will be forced to bear all the costs and receive no guaranteed benefits.

Fading local press raises fears for city democracy

On both sides of the Atlantic, interest in news is high. The daily dramas of the Trump administration and the rollercoaster of the Brexit negotiations have fuelled sales of online subscriptions to US and UK newspapers grappling with the transition from print to a predominantly digital business model. The picture is bleaker for local newspapers. In the US there has been a hollowing out of a once-mighty sector.

Charlotte's digital innovation will help upward mobility, says FCC Chairman Pai

North Carolina residents will be among the first to have faster 5G broadband access thanks to legislation approved by lawmakers making the state a leader in digital innovation, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said. “I remember Charlotte and the surrounding communities in the '80s and '90s and to see how quickly things are moving, the energy in this town and in this county, it’s a testament to the leadership on all kinds of levels, public and private sector,” Chairman Pai said.  He especially praised 2017 legislation to install 5G broadband in the state. But critics of th

Chairman Pai's Response to Sen Durbin Regarding Sinclair Broadcast Proposal to Acquire Tribune Media

On April 16, 2018, Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai regarding the merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Company. "In making its determination whether the proposed merger to allow a single company to reach 72 percent of U.S. television households serves the public interest, I urge the FCC to carefully consider Sinclair's conduct and the significant harm it poses," Sen Durbin wrote.

As big chains gobble up small TV stations, merged newsrooms are creating a uniformity of news coverage

The TV news has a familiar feel to it in west-central Pennsylvania. News stories broadcast on WJAC, the NBC affiliate in town, have appeared on nearby station WATM, the ABC affiliate. And many of those stories are broadcast on WWCP, the Fox station here, as well.

Wicked Problem: Sinclair Broadcasting and the high price of innovation

[Commentary] University of California-Berkeley's Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber coined the term “wicked problem” to refer to problems that had reached a level of complexity that made them impossible to define, let alone solve. Every solution to a wicked problem is a one-shot operation: There are no second chances, because any change you make will have affected the whole system. The story of Sinclair’s rise from local TV station to major propaganda machine is a case study in Rittel and Webber’s “one-shot operation” warning. 

Illinois Governor Signs Plan to Expand 5G Technology, Limit Role of Local Governments

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) has signed a measure that local governments say would limit their ability to regulate big wireless facilities including AT&T and Verizon. The plan allows companies to install small cell antennas on streetlights and utility poles. Local governments cannot regulate or charge for the installation or maintenance of the wireless facilities. Gov Rauner says the plan will create jobs and provide residents with faster internet service. But local municipalities across the state oppose the proposal.

CLIC Strongly Rebukes FCC BDAC Process and Outcome

In a strongly-worded letter submitted on April 12, 2018, CLIC has communicated to the Federal Communications Commission its deep concerns regarding the selection process and associated restrictive outcomes of its Broadband Deployment Advisory Council (BDAC).

On local broadcasting, Trump Federal Communications Commission “can’t be serious!”

[Commentary] Network news is nationally scripted for a national audience. The New York-based networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC feed common fare to all their affiliates. That is precisely why broadcasting policy – until the Trump Federal Communications Commission – has expected those local affiliates to use the medium for local news and information. Sinclair’s broadcast licenses mandate the provision of local services, not a de facto new national network with pre-scripted national messages.

FCC should investigate Sinclair for distorting news, put merger on hold, senators say

A dozen Democratic senators are asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting Group for distorting the news. 

The FCC should also pause its review of Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Media — a merger that could expand the nation's largest broadcaster from 193 stations to 223 stations covering 72% of US homes  — the senators say, to determine whether the deal is in the public interest.