And understand that scarce spectrum is used today for example for cell phone operators, they have to pay for the airwaves they use, for their services.
But having said that, what's happening with campaign finance reform and our political culture is devastating.
Local television news, on both radio and television, is so appalling. Makes print journalism look like the greatest stuff ever written.
One survey that I saw that was published I think in Variety or Electronic Media within the last three weeks says that now the average hour of radio in the United States has 18 minutes of commercials.
The number one lobby that opposes campaign finance reform in the United States is the National Association of Broadcasters.
As the mainstream media has become increasingly dependent on advertising revenues for support, it has become an anti-democratic force in society.
But having said that, there's also a sea change in attitude towards media.
Basically what they're saying is, if you want to be on TV, if you want to be a credible candidate, you've got to buy ads. And if you're not buying ads, you're not a credible candidate, we don't cover you.
When the government picked companies and gave them monopoly rights to frequencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles and New York and Chicago, it was picking the winners of the competition; it wasn't setting the terms of the competition.
Which is supposed to mean they're doing something in their broadcasting they would not do is they were simply out to maximize profit; if they were really public service institutions, not purely profit maximizing institutions.
When the government allocates monopoly rights to frequency, and there are only a handful in each community, it's picking the winners in the competition.
If you're running for reelection in the House of Representatives race, you know, it's very important to you that you be on fairly good terms with the local affiliates in the largest market in your area. I mean you don't want to antagonize them.
The commercial broadcasters have tremendous influence in Washington, D.C., for a couple of reasons. First, they're extremely rich and they have lots of money and they have had for a long time, so they can give money to politicians, which gets their attention.
Our existing media system today is the direct result of government laws and subsidies that created it.
So the competition isn't once you got the license, running the station; it's getting the license.
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