RTV 4700 Exam #2 Study Guide

Class Syllabus | Class Schedule

My advice for this exam duplicates that expressed for our first exam:  avoid pure textual memorization,, get in a study group, and go through this study guide with notes until you can answer each question comfortably, then get to the point where you can answer each question without notes.

On exam day you’ll need only a pencil (no pens) and a Scantron sheet.  All other items must be either left outside or on the floor by your desk, covered and closed.  The test will consist of 50 multiple choice and matching questions.  

As always, with exams like this in a pure lecture kind of class I recommend you get into some kind of study group with your fellow students in this class.

Good luck!

The Communications Acts

  • Know the historical context, technological needs, philosophical context, etc. of the following and how each advanced broadcasting and how each changed or added upon the previous act(s)?

            – Berlin Conventions
            – Wireless Ship Act of 1910
            – Radio Act of 1912
            – Radio Act of 1927
            – Communications Act of 1934
            – Telecommunications Act of 1996

  • What was the significance of the Zenith case?
  • In which act did the term broadcasting first appear?
  • Where does the language “public interest, convenience and necessity” first appear?
  • How many times was it employed in that act?
  • How many times was it employed in the subsequent act?
  • What did the 1996 Act have to say about owning networks?
  • What were some philosophical changes to the 1996 Acts?
  • What was the Communications Decency Act and what is its present status?

Sample Question
Which Radio/Communication act required 24-hour watches and two operators on all ships:

  1. Wireless Ship Act of 1910
  2. Radio Act of 1912
  3. Radio Act of 1927
  4. Communications Act of 1934
  5. Telecommunications Act of 1996

FRC/FCC/FTC and others

  • What is the basic structure of the FCC and FTC as we identified them in class?  How are commissioners/chair selected?
  • What are specific areas the FCC has regulatory control over?  What do they specifically not regulate?
  • What was their original mandate in 1927 Act?  How has that shifted over time?
  • What are some of the prevailing criticisms agains the FCC that we outlined in class?
  • What happens during an FCC commissioner’s term to any financial interest a he/she may have in the industries the FCC regulates?
  • How is the FCC a balancer?  FTC?
  • What do you know of the 1960’s criticism aimed at the FTC and what that produced?
  • Critical legislation:

            – Wheeler Lea Amendment
            – Moss Magnuson Act

  • Key cases demonstrating how advertising was/is regulated:

            – Old Gold Cigarettes
            – Listerine
            – YAZ

  • What is puffery and why is it allowed in commercial advertising?
  • What are the various mechanisms at the FTC’s disposal for regulating advertising?  (Don’t forget TRR’s.)
  • Understand the role each of the following have in regulating broadcasting:

            – Courts
            – President
            – Congress
            – Citizen Groups
            – Self-regulation

Sample Question
With this authority/mechanism, the FTC can order an advertiser to air contradictions to previous misleading or decptive claims and to devote a portion of their advertising budget to that purpose:

  1. Cease and Desist Orders
  2. Civil Fines
  3. Consent Decrees
  4. Corrective Advertising Orders
  5. Trade Regulation Rules

Public Interest

  • What are the two philosophical tension in the U.S. regarding the appropriate role of goernement?
  • What are some key arguments for/against each?
  • What were some key historical U.S. moments/programs that manifested the positive liberty approach to governance?
  • Where does Public Domain Theory originate?  What is the underlying philosophy behind public domain theory regarding the use of public properties for profit?
  • Know key cases/statements/publications that help define public interest and FCC’s authority in maintaining it:

            – 1927/1928 FRC Statements
            – Great Lakes Case
            – Brinkley Case
            – NBC v. U.S.
            – The Blue Book
            – 1960 Programming Policy Statement

  • What was ascertainment about?  What did it attempt to get broadcasters to do?
  • What is the broadcaster’s public file about?  What are some things that must be in that file?
  • Where must that file be located?  For television licensees?  Radio?

Sample Question
This case revolved around a quack doctor selling goat gonad implants and a Medical Question Box:

  1. Schuler (Trinity) Case
  2. Brinkely Case
  3. NBC v. U.S.
  4. United Church of Christ Case
  5. Adarand Case


  • What arguments could be made for either subjective or objective forms of evaluation for licensing in broadcasting?
  • Can you describe the 5 basic qualifications to obtaining a license that prospective broadcasters must meet?
  • How have license durations evolved since 1927?
  • What remedies does the FCC possess in cases of problems with a licensee?
  • What are the four steps a first-time applicant for a license must demonstrate to the FCC?
  • How are license renewals handled currently (don’t forget the 5%)?  How were they handled previously?
  • What is a comparative hearing?
  • What is the length of license terms now (prior to 1996)
  • Key cases:

            – United Church of Christ v. FCC
            – KSL-AM case

  • What was the Broadcast Procedure Manual?

Sample Question
Annually, this percentage of license renewal requests fill out a postcard-sized renewal questionairre:

  1. 100%
  2. 50%
  3. 25%
  4. 10%
  5. 95%

Programming Requirements

  • What is broadcasting’s political ideal?
  • What did section 312 of the Communication Acts require?
  • Section 315
  • What was the 1959 amendment to Section 315?
  • What are the restrictions regarding office in question (general elections vs. primaries)?
  • What’s the difference between equal time and equal opportunity?
  • How does lowest unit charge work?
  • What thresholds must you meet to be a legally qualified candidate?
  • What constitutes “use”?  How does this apply to public figures?
  • What are the sponsorship requirements for political ads?The 1992 PAC Rules
  • What were the 1992 PAC Rules?
  • What are the political ad disclosure rules broadcasters must meet as of 2012?
  • What are the various news exemptions?
  • Why is news exempted?
  • How do debates factor into this?
  • What rationale must a broadcaster employ according to the FCC to exclude certain candidates?
  • Censorship of political ads
  • Larry Flint case (1984)
  • Who is Peggy Charren and what is Action for Children’s Television?
  • Children’s Programming History
  • What is meant by mandatory minimum requirements in children’s programming?
  • What historically (until 1990) was the FCC’s stance with respect to children’s programming, particularly with mandatory minimum requirements?
  • Know these:

1970 ACT petition
1974 FCC Children’s Television Report and Policy Statement
1979 FCC proposed rules for children’s television and what the FCC finally did in 1983 with respect to those proposals
2 cases that demonstrate the inadequacy of children’s television programming requirements:
Washington Association for Children and Television v. FCC (1983)
Action for Children’s Television v. FCC (1985)

  • Children’s Television Act of 1990

children (age)
program-length commercials
host selling
commercial advertising limits
bans on program-length commercials and host selling
the public file requirement

  • 1996 Addendum to Children’s Television Act of 1990

Why did the FCC feel it necessary to include this addendum?
Know the provisions of the mandatory minimum requirement of core programming, including quantity, what is core programming, hours of day in which it is to air, etc.
What are the alternate ways a licensee could meet the requirement and not air a full 3 hours per week

  • What did we mean when we talked about the question of multicasting and the children’s programming requirement?

That should be enough to get you going…at least started in the right direction.