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You know, a left-winger, the barrier to success if you're on the left in commercial radio is a mile and a half higher than it is if you're on the right.
Which is supposed to mean they're doing something in their broadcasting they would not do is they were simply out to maximize profit; if they were really public service institutions, not purely profit maximizing institutions.
When the government picked companies and gave them monopoly rights to frequencies in San Francisco and Los Angeles and New York and Chicago, it was picking the winners of the competition; it wasn't setting the terms of the competition.
When the government allocates monopoly rights to frequency, and there are only a handful in each community, it's picking the winners in the competition.
What I've found is that there is a tremendous interest in these issues, across the political spectrum, sort of left-right terms we used to describe people don't really hold here exactly.
The whole process of getting licenses to broadcast, which took place decades ago, was done behind closed doors by powerful lobbies, and wealthy commercial interests got all the licenses with no public input, no congressional input for that matter.
The relationship between the media owner, their relationship isn't strictly with people and audiences. It's also with advertisers, and that's the most relationship in radio; in fact it pays the bills.
The public gets not one penny from them in return for those airwaves.
The number one lobby that opposes campaign finance reform in the United States is the National Association of Broadcasters.
The cost of congressional and presidential campaigns has been leaping every two or four years. I think this year it will be 60 percent more than 1996; well over twice as much as in 1992 in the presidential and congressional races.
The commercial broadcasters have tremendous influence in Washington, D.C., for a couple of reasons. First, they're extremely rich and they have lots of money and they have had for a long time, so they can give money to politicians, which gets their attention.
So the system we have in radio and television today is the direct result of government policies that have been made in our name, in the name of the people, on our behalf, but without our informed consent.
So the competition isn't once you got the license, running the station; it's getting the license.
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