The “We’ll Tell You What To Listen To” Doctrine

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As the drumbeat grows for re-instatement of the “Fairness” Doctrine, it is becoming ever more obvious that most of the lawmakers in Washington have a great deal of ignorance about the free market. In the legislators’ opinion, talk Radio listeners must be required to listen to certain programs — whether they want to listen or not.

The free market has done a pretty good job for the last 89 years in helping Radio serve the public. If a broadcaster airs a program that people don’t listen to, that program soon goes away. Without listeners, there are no advertisers. Without advertisers, there is no revenue. Without revenue, there is no station. One would think that anyone with a brain would be able to grasp this concept.

Apparently, this reality escapes quite a number of our senators and representatives. But then, a lack of intelligence has never been a bar to public service.

So if we’re going to be “fair”, let’s do it right. Let’s have legislation requiring equal time for all formats on all stations. For every hour of rock, lets have an hour of polkas. For every hour of jazz, an hour of rap.

It’s only fair.

Okay, it’s not fair. Because despite the tyranny of lawmakers, listeners will vote with their Radio dials. Or vote with the “off” switch. But perhaps legislators have an answer for that, as well: forced listening.

Are we turning into a dictatorship? My fear is the answer could be “yes”. And certainly, re-enactment of the “Fairness” Doctrine is a first giant step in that direction.