Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

55 Federal Communications Law Journal 273 (2003)


"Mega-owners" in the radio regime became possible with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which radically deregulated national and local radio station ownership limits that had been in existence for almost sixty years. The Act reflected Congress's firm belief that a deregulated marketplace would best serve the public interest. This Note argues that the 1996 Act is an example of excessive adherence to the marketplace model, particularly for regulating the radio industry. The Author argues that although a less extreme marketplace model has guided the FCC's regulation of radio since the early 1980s, the current incarnation of the marketplace model is both contrary to the public interest and economically harmful for radio stations and industries affected by radio, such as advertising. The Author concludes that although a return to the prior trusteeship model of strict content regulation and small ownership caps may be premature, it is clear that the pendulum of deregulation has swung far too wide in the wrong direction.