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View Diary: Question is, what DO we need them for? (151 comments)

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  •  Back in the day, (3+ / 0-)

    waay back (1960's and before), TV stations were required to present news and public service programs as a condition of retaining their license to broadcast.  The reason was the limited amount of airwaves and the fact that the public was considered to own those airwaves.  Therefore, any broadcaster who wanted to use those airwaves had to keep the public interest in mind.  

    This did not result in any sort of "golden age" of local TV news, but it was a little better than we have now, because in order to meet FCC requirements the stations actually had to spend some money. They could afford to because there were only 3 major networks and a few local independents in any given city, so TV pretty much had a captive audience.

    In the 1980's, deregulation took hold, and the public service requirements were pretty much scrapped.  Cable TV came in with more channels and then the internet came along.  Consequently, now local TV stations have no FCC requirement to present local programming with any real substance and a competitive environment that makes it more difficult to make money with anything that gets low ratings.  Hence the squeeze on the newsrooms.

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