CMN 140 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Film Studio, Transmedia Storytelling, Kfc

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11 Apr 2017
Lecture 13 - 3/7: Who Owns and Controls the Mass Media - Issue 1/Chapter 15
1. Key Idea: Ownership patterns show a strong movement toward concentration &
away from localism
2. Who Controls the Media?
1. An important issue from the start
2. How much power should an individual or business be allowed to have?
1.1. Concerns over how powerful an individual person or a single
business should be allowed in society
2. Monopolies good or bad?
1.1. Bad b/c consumers are better served by competition among
businesses & believe monoopilies concentrate too much power in
hands of one business which is then free to raise prices and
degrade services b/c lack of competittors
1.2. Good b/c economic efficiencies are passed onto customers in the
form of lower prices (Ex: Walmart and McDonald hella cheap bc
they’re big&efficient)
2. Media control information
1.1. If one company controlled all the news outlet, then they will only
present news that they liked & ignored other daily occurrences &
political positions
2. Debate rests on conflict between localism & efficiency basically
2. Two Competing Values
1. Two strong, competing values that address the issue of concentration of
2. Localism: values sharing of power among many ppl as possible
1.1. Populist value = belief that control of important institutions should
be spread out as much as possible so that many ppl share the
1.1.1. Thus, considerable power should exist at local
level, closest to individuals; “best serves society”
1.1.2. Based on that idea that each person is a rational
being with equal say in political & economic arenas
maximizes the freedom of each person & empowers all ppl
by keeping them involved in as many important decisions
as possible
1.2. Localism is an American tradition
1.2.1. Ex: Founding Fathers of the US create a
democratic government rather than a monarchy; believed
individual > institutions or governments
1.2.2. If government is necessary, believed it should be
decentralized to be closer to the ppl’s needs; so powers
are restricted leaving some areas & decision-making to
state/local governments
1.3. Localism and Mass Media
1.3.1. Ppl believe media voices should be kept local to
best serve the public Media started as innovations at the local
level & when gov’t had to regulate them, they often
favored localism ethic in policy-making Ex: Development of broadcasting industries
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Already have an account? Log in if you want to broadcast a radio/TV
signal, you must send your signal out on a
frequency; if you & i wanted to use the
same frequency to broadcast our different
signals, than oru signals would interfere w/
each other & radio listeners would receive a
garbled signal Solution: gov’t decided that radio
broadcasting frequencies belonged to all
Americans like a national park and should
be shared by all citizens Rationale for Regulations in
Broadcasting based on spectrum scarcity of
frequencies, localism, public interest, &
promotion of diversity
1.1.2. Over time, FCC allowed more ownership
concentration: pressure from broadcasters Single company can own as many TV as it
wants as long as it doesn’t exceed 39.5% of
viewers What type of pressure were they putting? Broadcasters argued successfully that they
were being unfairly limited in their rights to own
multiple businesses and that there were no
ownership limits for magazine, book publishers,
newspapers, INternet sites, & even film Consumers argued that there was no
convincing evidence that multiple ownership of
broadcasting causes harm to the public Broadcasters actually showed that
when businesses are consolidated, it was
more efficient, therefore helped customers
1.1.2. FCC Regulations rationale: Electromagnetic spectrum belongs to all
americans Ppl had to apply through FCC, but
was flooded with hella apps AM band allowed only about 117
frequencies so... Decided to divide the country into many
local markets & awarded some frequencies to each
market Also, each radio station limited the
power of the signal to local markets only Allowed FCC to assign same
frequency to many different markets without
having to worry about signals interfering
with one another Did this due to localism: wanted to
spread the limited resource of broadcast
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