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Out Of Thin Air: Using First Amendment Public Forum Analysis To Redeem American Broadcasting Regulation, Anthony E. Varona
American television and radio broadcasters are uniquely privileged among Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensees. Exalted as public trustees by the 1934 Communications Act, broadcasters pay virtually nothing for the use of their channels of public radiofrequency spectrum, unlike many other FCC licensees who have paid billions of dollars for similar digital spectrum. Congress envisioned a social contract of sorts between broadcast licensees and the communities they served. In exchange for their free licenses, broadcast stations were charged with providing a platform for a "free marketplace of ideas" that would cultivate a democratically engaged and enlightened citizenry through the broadcasting of ...