Michael Lasar writes:
The Communications Act requires broadcasters to serve "public interest, convenience, and necessity." But a campaign by a Christian media group to defeat Federal Communications Commission proposals to encourage more locally-oriented radio reveals the extent to which some Christian broadcasters see their mission in sectarian terms. ¶ "The FCC is considering a proposal that would force every radio station to take programming advice from community advisory boards broadly representative of an area’s population," a statement distributed by Save Christian Radio (SCR) darkly warns. "That means that Christian broadcast stations could be forced to take programming advice from people whose values are at odds with the Gospel!"
Link: Ars Technica.
In The Decline of Localist Broadcasting Policies, Ed Felton then comments on this development and also the debut of Pandora for the iPhone:
... Many people are like the Pandora or Christian radio listeners, in wanting to hear content aimed at their interests rather than just their location. Public policy ought to recognize this and give broadcasters more latitude to find their own communities rather than defining communities only by geography. ¶ Now I’m not saying that their shouldn’t be local programming, or that people shouldn’t care what is happening in their neighborhood. Most people care a lot about local issues and want some local programming. The local community is one of their communities of interest, but it’s not the only one. Let some stations serve local communities while others serve non-local communities. As long as there is demand for local programming — as there surely will be — the market will provide it, and new technologies will help people get it. ...
Link: Freedom to Tinker (about a dozen comments follow his post).
Adam Thierer provides some comments on this in The Progress & Freedom Foundation blog and expands on this theme in Our Continued Wishful Thinking about "Media Localism" where he points to a debate on this in Editor & Publisher:
There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Editor & Publisher in which E&P columnist Steve Outing and Mark Potts of the now-defunct Backfence.com are debating media localism and recent efforts to give dying newspapers a new lease on life by focusing on the “hyper-local” coverage and community services. Potts obviously didn’t take too kindly to Outling saying of Backfence that: “We know from its experience that relying too heavily on non-paid citizen contributors isn’t a winning strategy.” And that the: “content is often of low quality and boring, and dull just doesn’t fly in the hyper-competitive Web environment. In response, Potts suggests that other factors were responsible for the site’s demise and that hyper-localism and user-generated local content is the future of the industry...
Link: Technology Liberation Front.
Nota bene to fellow broadcasters from the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared. Unless we're serving both geographical and affinity communities, we'll likely be marginalized. --Dennis