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Open Mike

Our Airwaves Deserve Scrutiny

Editor: In his May 19 Airtime, “The Public Airwaves Myth,” Erwin Krasnow throws out the old chestnut that the concept of the “public airwaves” has no “legal basis” nor does it “make any sense”. In his universe, the airwaves are “just so much empty space.”

Under the current public trustee system, the federal government uses the imposing powers of the state to protect the monopoly rights of broadcasters to control certain portions of the spectrum. Unlike ranchers who pay for the grazing rights on “publicly owned” lands, or oil and gas interests who pay for drilling rights on the “publicly-owned” outer continental shelf, the broadcasters pay nothing for the license for this government-protected monopoly, other than a statutory commitment to fulfilling their public interest obligations.

Broadcasters are granted a unique privilege in using an asset from which we as a nation benefit. It is the Supreme Court who has noted that the purpose of the regulation of our nation's airwaves is not to “countenance the monopolization of the market.” We Americans rely on our leaders to act as wise stewards of our commonly owned assets. The airwaves deserve no less.

Meredith McGehee

The Campaign Legal Center


The 'Snitching' Problem

Editor: I enjoyed reading Michael Malone's “See No Evil” feature story in Broadcasting & Cable (page 10). I'd heard of the “Stop Snitching” phenomenon, but this is the first time that I have seen the impact it's having on the media. It's a sad day when “grassroots campaigns” like this keep reporters from producing stories that could better our community – and maybe save a life or two.

Kristina Hill

The Inspiration Networks

Indian Land, S.C.