Jun 21, 2012

Report proposes, once again, a spectrum fee to support public media

In a spectrum policy research paper released today (June 21), the New America Foundation proposes replacing upcoming one-time spectrum auctions with annual fees to sustain public media. However, it defines "public media" as specifically reaching beyond public broadcasting stations.

Advances in communications technology "require us to expand our notions of public media to include media produced by the public for civic purposes across multiple platforms and not just its historic format of mission-oriented noncommercial media produced for the public," the report says. "Public Media can no longer be equated with just public broadcasting, but can be produced by a variety of individuals and entities working within established goals and standards."

The paper suggests the government collect a "modest spectrum use fee" of 5 percent of revenues from commercial broadcasters to feed a federal trust to support "an expanded public media" including CPB and new journalism outlets.

Similar ideas has been floated before, the report notes, such as from Carnegie II in 1978, and former FCC Chair Newton Minow and former PBS President Lawrence Grossman's “Digital Opportunity Investment Trust" (Current, April 9, 2001).

The entire New America Foundation report is here.

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