Of all of the media in the United States, broadcast media (radio and television) are arguably the most highly regulated.  This can be traced back to the fact that FM and AM radio, as well as broadcast television, all use the electromagnetic spectrum and that the nation’s airwaves are owned by the public, not the broadcasting companies.  It  is important to note that radio and television that do not use the electromagnetic spectrum–for example, satellite radio or cable tv–are not subject to the same regulations as those that use the electromagnetic spectrum. The major regulatory body for both radio and television services that use the electromagnetic spectrum is the Federal Communications Commission.  It was established in 1934 and since then has instituted a variety of regulations on both radio and television broadcasters, ranging from the Fairness Doctrine to restrictions on ownership.  The following timeline highlights some of the key events and regulations that have helped define the regulations and freedoms experienced by broadcast media in the United States.

 

Broadcast Regulation Timeline

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