UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


In November 1983, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in the spirit of deregulation and in response to pressure from broadcasters, changed its policy toward radio and television sponsorship of political debates. Under the old policy, a station could broadcast a debate as a news event and avoid the costs of providing equal time to fringe candidates only if someone else sponsored the debate. Under the new rule, stations can arrange and hold debates in their own studios without any obligation to provide equal time. The author analyzes the potential consequences of the new rule, questioning the propriety of the FCC's enactment of this new policy.