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Tar Heel Pundits
"[A] prolific linker and thinker." - Ed Cone
North Carolina Bar Association's Website of the Week, September 18, 2002
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Friday, December 12, 2003

Scarcity and why everyone can't own their own broadcast radio station

Ed Cone links to a Doc Searls post asking "[w]hy shouldn't there be an unlimited number of stations, just like there are an unlimited number of Web sites, of blogs, or or any breed of source on the Net? No reason at all."

Unfortunately, there does seem to be a reason, or at least on adopted by the Supreme Court. It's the scarcity argument - there is only so much of a radio spectrum to go around, and thus the government regulates it so as to make the limited amount of spectrum go around the best for everyone. It's the same reason the government can regulate broadcast TV in ways it can't regulate newspapers (Compare Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 US 367 with Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241). Granted, I am not saying the government is doing it effectively, but if the scarcity argument is valid anymore, "everyone" can't start their own radio station just because they want to if there is not enough spectrum to go around.

posted by John Branch @ 3:57 PM

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