FCC's Copps Proposes "Public Value Test" For Licensees
December 2, 2010 at 3:59 PM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL J. COPPS has returned to one of his common themes, proposing that the present broadcast licensing process be replaced with a "public value test," reports the NEW YORK TIMES. COPPS said that the test "would get us back to the original licensing bargain between broadcasters and the people: in return for free use of airwaves that belong exclusively to the people, licensees agree to serve the public interest as good stewards of a precious national resource."
COPPS' plan, delivered in a speech to the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL, proposes "quantifiable" "meaningful commitments" to news and public affairs, 25% prime-time local/independently produced programming requirements, plans for emergency and disaster coverage, and disclosure of those paying for political ads. He suggested that the test be administered every four years, with a probation process for stations that fail.