Independent commercial television in Britain was very good, because it had to compete with the BBC; the people who owned it described it as a license to print money: somehow they made good programs without garish commercial intrusion every 15 minutes, as in this country. Then Mrs Thatcher put it all out to bid and the result was a disaster. The people who gobbled it up spent so much money outbiding each other that they had no money to make programs. It took them a decade to recover, if they ever did. I was a fan of Thatcher's government, but she made mistakes, and that was one of them. The people who bid to buy airwaves will do so only because they think they'll make money. 


On Jul 3, 2013, at 11:29 AM, Tom Fine wrote:

I think it would have been much wiser to put the public airwaves out for bid every XX years, say once a decade. Use the money at the LOCAL level to fund public education (which is a true "public good"). Let the free market (the listeners themselves) decide what they want to hear over the airwaves, and vote with their pocketbooks whether they want to support advertisers on stations they don't like (or even be aware of said advertisers since they're not listening to said stations).

Of COURSE a centralized command-down system would get corrupted to serve the interests of a few. It's foolish to expect anything else. What in past history or human nature indicates otherwise?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America

> Hi, Tom,
> My father worked at CBS Radio in market research, helping invent the process and then helped spin off some of the firms that did the work for years. He had a great loyalty to CBS and stayed with them for 28 years until a big shuffle in 1967 booted him out.
> What he taught me was that the Communications Act of 1934 needed to be at the forefront of everything you did. "To act in the public interest, convenience, and necessity." Even in the early 1970s in my media education (B.S. major in communications, minor in business, St. John's University 1973) this was a fact we had to learn (or already know). Subsequently that was gutted for the benefit of a few.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> On 2013-07-03 6:43 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Carl,
>> It's OK to raise fists and bay at the moon, but that won't change the
>> moon. Antitrust laws have been gutted since the 90s, so megaglomeration
>> of ... everything is inevitable.
>> An interesting discussion is, should radio have been left alone much
>> more so from the get-go, with the FCC in place only to monitor
>> modulation levels and frequency (technical stuff). The only caveat I
>> would have put in place from Day 1 would be -- only one frequency per
>> market per owner, and strictly enforced that every step of the way. From
>> there, let public taste and market economics decide what's popular, what
>> formats work and what's profitable. Stay out of the way and let the
>> folks run their own entertainment tastes. Under my system, you're
>> potentially giving Joe Blow who bought a frequency cheap after WWII the
>> same chance to be "Must Hear Radio" as NBC or CBS networks, as long as
>> Joe Blow knew his market and could deliver something the big boys weren't.
> -- 
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.