Cover image for The beginning of broadcast regulation in the twentieth century
The beginning of broadcast regulation in the twentieth century
Bensman, Marvin R., 1937-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 272 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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KF2814 .B46 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Radio Act of August 13, 1912, provided for the licensing of radio operators and transmitting stations for nearly 15 years until Congress passed the Radio Act of 1927. From 1921 to 1927, there were continual revisions and developments and these still serve as the basis for current broadcast regulation. This book chronicles that crucial six-year period using primary documents. The administrative structure of the Department of Commerce and the personnel involved in the regulation of broadcasting are detailed. The book is arranged chronologically in three sections: Broadcast Regulation and Policy from 1921 to 1925; Congestion and the Beginning of Regulatory Breakdown in 1924 and 1925; and Regulatory Breakdown and the Passage of the Act of 1927. There is also discussion of the Department of Commerce divisions and their involvement until they were absorbed by the Federal Communication Commission. A bibliography and an index conclude the work.

Author Notes

Marvin R. Bensman is professor at the University of Memphis.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The current controversy over the recent Federal Communications Commission decision on January 20, 2000, to license new low-power FM radio stations provides a contemporary backdrop for this history of the beginning of broadcast regulation. Bensman (Univ. of Memphis) has studied broadcast regulation during his 30-year career and has published several books on the topic, most recently Broadcast/Cable Regulation. His current book focuses on the early years of radio regulation, concentrating on the six years preceding the passage of the Radio Act of 1927, when Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and his staff actively promoted legislation to give the government the power to license and regulate broadcasting. Drawing on a range of primary-source materials, including letters, speeches, telegrams, and government documents, Bensman argues that officials at the Commerce Department orchestrated the move toward regulation. This book will be a useful addition to academic journalism collections.DJudy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Prefacep. 1
Chapter I The Development of Radio Regulationp. 3
Chapter II Broadcast Regulation and Policy from 1921 to 1924p. 29
I. Preparation for Legislationp. 32
II. First National Radio Telephony Conferencep. 47
III. Failure of Legislationp. 55
IV. Regulation Without Legislationp. 64
V. The Second National Radio Conferencep. 80
VI. The Bureau of Standards Through 1923p. 88
VII. Summaryp. 91
Chapter III Congestion and the Beginning of Regulatory Breakdown, 1924-25p. 93
I. Attempts at Legislationp. 95
II. The Third National Radio Conferencep. 101
III. Secretary Hoover's Stand on Major Issuesp. 119
IV. Increasing Regulatory Difficultiesp. 129
V. The Fourth Radio Conferencep. 140
VI. Summaryp. 150
Chapter IV Regulatory Breakdown and the Passage of the Act of 1927p. 153
I. The Breakdown of Regulationp. 155
II. The Chaosp. 176
III. The Passage of Legislationp. 183
IV. The End of Broadcast Regulation by the Department of Commercep. 200
V. Summaryp. 205
Chapter V Regulation Under the Act of 1927p. 207
I. The Power to Regulatep. 208
II. The Radio Commissionp. 210
III. Powers Retained by the Department of Commercep. 216
IV. Radio Commission Becomes Federal Communication Commissionp. 219
V. Summaryp. 221
Notesp. 229
Bibliographyp. 255
Indexp. 263