About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

18 Comm. L. & Pol'y 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/comulp18 and id is 1 raw text is: 



18 COMM. L. & PoL'Y 1-61 (2013)                         Routledge
Copyright @ Taylor & Francis Group, LLC                 Taylor&Franis Group
ISSN: 1081-1680 print / 1532-6926 online
DOI: 10.1080/10811680.2013.746136



THE CLOSING OF THE ETHER:
COMMUNICATION POLICY AND THE PUBLIC
INTEREST IN THE UNITED STATES AND
GREAT BRITAIN, 1921-1926


SETH ASHLEY*


        How do media systems come to be structured in different ways?
        Through a comparative historical institutional analysis of the ori-
        gins of broadcasting policy in the United States and Great Britain in
        the early twentieth century, this study examines reasons private, com-
        mercial interests dominated the US. system while Britain granted a
        monopoly to the publicly funded, noncommercial BBC. Policy outcomes
        at this critical juncture were contingent on different path-dependent
        notions of the public interest as well as temporal sequencing. Through
        an analysis of primary documents and secondary literature, this study
        considers the implications of these different approaches for modern
        communication policy and democratic society.



Critical discussions of the structure and function of media systems often
center on the notion that there is nothing inherently natural about the
way media systems develop over time.1 Rather, media systems evolve
due to deliberate and accidental policies and practices that exist within
social and political contexts. Once certain paths are selected, policy
outcomes can have lasting effects. But how does this process unfold,
and what factors lead to different outcomes?
  Following previous research that has identified the origins of broad-
cast media as a major critical juncture in the history of communication,2


  *Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Boise State University.
  1See JURGEN HABERMAS, THE STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE PUBLIC SPHERE
(1989); DANIEL C. HALLIN & PAOLO MANCINI, COMPARING MEDIA SYSTEMS: THREE MOD-
ELS OF MEDIA AND POLITICS 2 (2004); ROBERT W. MCCHESNEY, THE PROBLEM OF THE
MEDIA: U.S. COMMUNICATION POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY 18 (2004); PAUL STARR,
THE CREATION OF THE MEDIA: POLITICAL ORIGINS OF MODERN COMMUNICATIONS 1-2
(2004).
  2See ROBERT W. MCCHESNEY, TELECOMMUNICATION, MASS MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY:
THE BATTLE FOR THE CONTROL OF U.S. BROADCASTING, 1928-1935 (1993); SUSAN

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most