Licensing: Test by Performance

"The airwaves that the broadcasters use for immense profit are the public's, and the time is long overdue for the broadcasting industry to respond to the value of the human experience rather than to the values of the marketplace."

So declared the National Citizens Com mittee for Broadcasting, a TV watchdog group, in a recent statement calling for the overhaul of commercial television-licensing procedures. Over the two decades since major television channels were first assigned by the Federal Govern ment, renewals of three-year broadcast licenses have been almost automatic.

Lately the status quo has been increasingly challenged by the courts, by citizens'...

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