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56 Federal Communications Law Journal 329 (2004)


This Article by Richard Kielbowicz and Linda Lawson is an exploration of the origins of sponsorship identification regulations as they pertained to early radio and television programming. Beginning with the statutory sponsorship identification requirement enacted in 1927, the Authors trace the development of sponsorship identification rules in the communications industry. By arguing that such rules express a basic goal of American communication law and policy, Kielbowicz and Lawson analyze trends and developments in sponsorship regulation that did not materialize in the 1930s and 1940s because of the nature of early broadcast sponsorship. The Authors then assert that those same early rules proved unexpectedly useful in dealing with a 1940s' controversy over covert political promotions. Next, the piece reveals that the FCC failed to apply the rule to broadcast practices that had become commonplace in the 1950s, such as quiz show rigging, payola and plugola. The Article then analyzes the 1960 amendments to the Communications Act and examines the resulting rules, which unsuccessfully proposed extending the rules into broadcasters' financial interests. Finally, the Authors conclude by analyzing the dynamics that produced the 1963 regulations.