What the FCC Has to Do with Television

What the FCC Has to Do with Television

If you are interested in moving into a career in broadcasting, you need to know a bit about the FCC. Short for the Federal Communications Commission, this is the government entity that monitors all information broadcast over television and radio airways. While it is not used to prevent the distribution of ideas, regardless of what the information is, it is in place to protect viewers from material that they may not want to see, such as violence, bad language, sexual content, nudity and other displays potentially not suitable for the general audience. Now, different levels of television programming are under different restrictions, so it is important to learn about what exactly the FCC is and how it affects broadcasting.

What exactly is the FCC?

The FCC has been around since 1934, when the government created the Communications Act of 1934. This took over from the original Federal Radio Commission and also from the wire communication Interstate Commerce Commission. The FCC holds a mandate throughout all 50 states and land owned by the U.S. It is important to understand that the FCC does not take any sort of tax dollars at all. Instead, it runs based off of regulatory fees and fines it implements on stations for airing content that is not deemed appropriate. There are seven different bureaus that make up the FCC, each of which has its own specific area of broadcast which it governs. This includes the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau, Enforcement Bureau, International Bureau, Media Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Wireline Competition Bureau and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

How Does the FCC Affect Broadcasting?

The FCC affects broadcasting by placing specific rules and regulations on all broadcasts. There are many different regulatory requirements that vary, depending on if it is over the air content, through a cable subscription, the time of day and who the target audience is. Getting into every single aspect of the FCC would take extensive research, but the FCC watches all recorded broadcast information ahead of time and determines what is suitable for broadcast or if there needs to be changes. This might be requiring a station to remover language or blur nudity. Regarding live television broadcast, the FCC obviously is not able to monitor this content ahead of time. However, should something slip during the broadcast, such as a swear, nudity or other restricted piece of material and the station does not use the five second delay from recording to broadcast to change camera angles or sensor the swear word, the FCC does lay out a fine for the failure to prevent it from hitting the airways.

How Did the FCC Come Into Its Position and How is it Relevant Today?

The FCC regulates just about any bit of information that is transmitted to people throughout the United States and its territories. It still plays a very important role in just about every single aspect of information sharing. Currently, the FCC is determining whether or not there should be net neutrality or not. This means, whether certain websites should receive a better Internet connection than other services or if customers should be forced to pay more money in order to increase the speed of online services. This has mostly come to fruition due to the increase in popularity of media streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. These Web services utilize more Internet bandwidth than any other Internet service in the world. Since its inception from the creation of the Communications Act of 1934 until today, the FCC still plays a very important role in all shared media information.