The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity

The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dana A. Scherer. December 16, 2016

From the earliest days of commercial radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission, have encouraged diversity in broadcasting. This concern has repeatedly been supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has affirmed that “the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” and that “assuring that the public has access to a multiplicity of information sources is a governmental purpose of the highest order, for it promotes values central to the First Amendment.”
The FCC’s policies seek to encourage four distinct types of diversity: (1) diversity of viewpoints, as reflected in the availability of media content reflecting a variety of perspectives; (2) diversity of programming, as indicated by a variety of formats and content; (3) outlet diversity, to ensure the presence of multiple independently owned media outlets within a geographic market; and (4) minority and female ownership of broadcast media outlets.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 845.78 KB].

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