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Broadcasters May Face New Public-Interest Obligations

What starts with an "A" and gives broadcasters a royal pain? "Ascertainment."

Until the mid ’80s, broadcasters were required by the FCC to schedule appointments with dozens of community leaders to discover—or ascertain—significant social problems.
Lots of broadcasters thought it was a waste of time and money.
Now we hear FCC Chairman Michael Powell will launch his oft-mentioned inquiry to determine if broadcasters need new public-interest obligations.
Two that could be on his hit list:

  • making stations air more kids programs and
  • reviving the dreaded 'A' word.

Expect an uproar.