James H. Jones
638 Fifth Ave
Halethorpe, MD 21227
June 9, 2012
Professor D. Olson
Since the dawn of time we have always had a need for entertainment. Not until the beginning of the 20th century were we able to entertain people in their own homes. This material was mostly target for adult audiences. The government felt that there was need to regulate how this programming was presented to the country. They wanted to ensure that it was appropriate for all ages and followed the 1st amendment rights of the constitution. Over the past century there have been changes in the technology that delivers the programming. The programming itself has evolved to new extremes.
Bell Telephone Corporation provided telephone service for all of the United States until it the FCC and United States forced breakup in the late 1980’s. This company had very little competition from other competitors within the United States. The technology used for telecommunications gave way to Internet we have now. With the invention of the Internet, the programming now has a media that can be seen around the world.
The FCC can only regulate what the content of the programming is for within the boundaries of the United States. But in recent years the method of transmission for broadcast media has been combined with other services creating new issues for the FCC and the US government. I will discuss the history of the broadcast media, are these natural monopolies and how the FCC has regulation are effective or ineffective within these industries.
History of entertainment and communications media
In the late 1800’s the telegraph provided the main form of communication across long distances. These were short communications to a central office where the send and recipient could make unedited messages. This was the only method of the communication until the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. The Bell Telephone Company devices and network provided a voice communications across the United States. Bell Telephone Company became AT&T. This telecommunications company provided a service that was unmatched by their competitors.
The FCC created the Communications Act of 1934 (Brooks, 1976) to deal with the monopolization of the telecommunications industry by AT&T. The FCC allowed AT&T to remain as a regulated monopoly even though they either drove their competitors out of business or acquire them. AT&T was allowed to own and operate the majority of the telecommunications service for the United States. In the early 1950’s the United States created a consent decree limiting AT&T to 85% of the national telephone network and release their interest in Canada and the Caribbean.
In 1984 AT&T was forced to breakup to allow for competition within the industry (Brooks, 1976). The United States government realized that there needed to be competition within the industry for growth of the technology and spark innovation. Bell and AT&T ruled the communications through telephone lines there was another media that was used for communications and entertainment, Radio.
The invention of Radio made wireless communication possible. The technology converted voice messages to radio waves transmitted over the air to other radio receivers (Messere, 2012). This medium allowed for the creation of the first broadcast stations providing entertainment to the masses. We already had motion pictures that provide a venue for writers and directors to express themselves no matter what the content of the material was to adults. Now radio provided a medium to share these ideas as well. These radio broadcast had freedom to say whatever they wanted without consequence. This medium was first regulation in 1910 with reserved legislation by Congress.
The formation of the Federal Radio Commission helped