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The process of incorporating radio reference information in the workplace can be very complicated. For starters, a person has to decide which jurisdictions apply and what the definition of “territory” is in each jurisdiction. If there are multiple variations within each jurisdiction, then it can be even more confusing! In addition, there are many potential First Amendment issues that could be potentially problematic.

Consider for example the issue of mandatory equal employment opportunity laws. Almost all states have some type of requirement regarding gender equality, but the courts have been more divided on the constitutionality of these requirements than on the merits of Title VII. Section 92 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, or the radio communication section, has been considered by the courts to have no limitations other than those imposed by Congress. Proponents of the provision believe it to be necessary because it prevents employers from using sexual orientation and/or gender in their hiring practices. Opponents argue that it cannot be applied because it does not allow employers to discriminate based upon those things. Because the FCC lacks power to regulate these matters, the court decided that sections of the FCC that dealt with radio broadcasting fell within the legislative jurisdiction of Congress.

The same was true of the Telecommunications Act. There were separate sections of the law dealing with telecommunications, broadcasting, and Internet access, and the telecommunications providers were not regulated by the legislative jurisdiction of the FCC under any authority. So, in essence, Congress gave the FCC all authority and power over the telephone companies, and telephone companies were not subject to any legislative limitation (with one exception). Today, the FCC is attempting to remedy this situation, and the hearings that are currently underway are an attempt to do that.

There is also confusion about whether the congressional intent is to retain the legislative jurisdiction over the airwaves or whether they intend to eliminate it. Although the current congressional efforts to pass bills regarding Internet access and various broadband issues appear to be geared toward retaining the federal jurisdiction over the airwaves, it may simply be a matter of getting the issue resolved in conference negotiations between the parties. In any event, the fact remains that the FCC will not have an absolute constitutional authority over the airwaves once again. As the courts have affirmed, that is not a fundamental problem, just a practical one.

One of the reasons why the FCC lost its ability to regulate local radio stations was the fact that the radio stations themselves had become too big to be considered local. Almost every community has a multiple broadcast station operating at the same time, so that essentially meant that any station would be deemed to be multiple stations. When the FCC attempted to regulate these radio stations, it never had the opportunity to determine which was more accurate, and therefore, it was unable to come up with a standard to apply to radio stations throughout the entire country. For that reason, there were a great deal of abuses and the blocking of legitimate programming, and while that is obviously not helpful for the listener, it is not helping the FCC in its attempts to create a level playing field when it comes to media ownership.

In the final analysis, the FCC has made a mistake in determining that a radio station must offer a service in order to be classified as a public service. The FCC must look to whether the media in question actually provides a service, and not at the mere cost of providing service. So long as the listener gets the information that he or she desires, then the FCC has the authority to classify the radio station. If the station were merely a vehicle for broadcasting a candidate for office or a political endorsement, then it would be a purely private entity. However, if the station serves some useful purpose, then it is probably a public service, regardless of whether it is run for profit or not.

If you are an owner of a radio station, you should not depend upon the good faith of the listeners to determine your success. If the listener enjoys your programming and hears your voice repeatedly, then you are likely to succeed in this endeavor. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The economy has forced countless small businesses to downsize and cut their budgets, while simultaneously creating more demand for advertisements in radio programming. As a result, many companies that specialize in entertainment and the entertainment industry have gone out of business, while others have failed due to the poor economy. This has left many people with no other choice but to rely on radio advertising, which is becoming more difficult to do as the economy fails.

Unfortunately, much of the confusion about the classification of radio stations comes from political pressure rather than from any sound reasoning. Because radio stations all share certain common characteristics, there have been attempts to classify them in the past by Congress and the FCC. For example, in 1950, Congress passed an act which required that all radio stations allow a minority of white speakers to appear on their air. Since that time, many media professionals have tried to use this same form of discrimination, only to find that such attempts to violate the FCC’s Fair Practices Standards. Even when the station owner cannot legally exclude anyone, he or she should make every effort to provide a wide range of voices for the listeners who are willing to listen.

Author: stowp9737

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