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.
Free Press Sues the FCC for Dramatic Reversal of Media-Ownership Limits That Pave Way for Media Mergers
Free Press has joined Common Cause, Communications Workers of America and the Office of Communication, Inc. of the United Church of Christ to file suit against Federal Communications Commission efforts to repeal local media-ownership limits.
Many local officials, engineers and wireless consultants contend that changes Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai advocates to limit local regulation of small-cell permitting, design, fees and other charges used to access cities’ public rights of way won’t do anything to close the digital divide.
Many people are worked up over so-called small cells, the next generation of wireless technology that telecommunications firms and cell-tower builders want to place on streetlights and utility poles throughout neighborhoods nationwide. The small cells come with a host of equipment, including antennas, power supplies, electric meters, switches, cabling and boxes often strapped to the sides of poles. Some may have refrigerator-sized containers on the ground. And they will be placed about every 500 or so feet along residential streets and throughout business districts.
[Commentary] There may be another way to save local news. The plan, for any would-be entrepreneur brave enough to try it, goes like this: Hire some very good journalists; just one or two are O.K. to start. Turn them loose on a large metropolitan area — try San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston or any other city going through waves of change, and whose local press has been gutted by digital disruption. Have your reporters cover stuff that no one else is covering, and let them ignore stuff that everyone else is covering.
Members from both sides of the aisle say they want to work together to increase broadband for more Americans, and that they see access to the internet as essential. Unfortunately, so far local voices have too often been missing when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress are debating issues like 5G development and infrastructure investments that impact all Americans.
[Commentary] Communities across the United States are considering strategies to protect residents’ access to information and their right to privacy.
Low-power nonprofit FM stations are the still, small voices of media. They whisper out from basements and attics, and from miniscule studios and on-the-fly live broadcasts. They have traditionally been rural and often run by churches; many date to the early 2000s, when the first surge of federal licenses were issued. But in the last year, a diverse new wave of stations has arrived in urban America, cranking up in cities from Miami to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and especially in the Northwest, where six community stations began to broadcast in Seattle.
The Federal Communications Commission’s anticipated decision on net neutrality has (rightfully) garnered a lot of publicity and scrutiny. The FCC’s repeal of different regulations earlier this fall, however, could reshape a news source often left out of predictions of the industry’s future: local TV newsrooms.
The Federal Communications Commission acted to remove barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment by determining that replacement utility poles that have no potential effect on historic properties do not need to complete historic preservation review. Specifically, the Order eliminates historic preservation review when a pole is replaced with a substantially identical pole.
[Commentary] Much has been written about the challenges facing the news business in the Internet and social media age. But recent research helps explain why local news outlets have struggled so mightily — and what that means for citizen engagement in local politics and elections. 1) Local news isn’t popular; 2) Audiences have shifted to national sources; 3) Local newsrooms are shrinking their staffs and their coverage; and 4) As local news declines, Americans stay away from local elections — even for members of Congress.