His adversaries frequently ask, “Who do you think you are?”, or “Who are you trying to impress?” What’s the response that featured Media Information Bureau and Washington gadfly Ken Benner offers?
“For a truly professionally dedicated forensic journalist, that last thing he needs or wants is any degree of fame.”
The following column, and rant, is to remain in the public domain. It’s a call to action against the one Federal agency most dependent on you for its day-to-day dollars: The FCC.
By Ken Benner
You would think that, after all of this time, the broadcast industry would come together to address the Congressionally-mandated actions by the Federal Communications Commission — the one Federal agency most dependent for its entire financial support from the fines, fees and forfeitures it imposes upon those entities it regulates.
To respond to this concern requires dusting off the old textbook for Psychology 101, wherein we find three syndromes critical to massive human control: The Lemming, The Ostrich and The Death Camp Syndromes.
Where am I going with this, lest I deeply offend anyone?
Allow me to explain.
The Lemming, also defined as a mass genetic syndrome — wherein the Lemming bird species are programmed genetically to perform an annual massive suicide off a California cliff. Human examples have been seen across the decades.
The Ostrich syndrome appears to apply best to the demise of the U.S. broadcast media industry as licensees become overwhelmed with a bizarre litany of special interest and hidden agenda regulations.
For example, we have:
- Quarterly issue files
- Commercial time limits
- Equal employment
- Copyright royalty claims
- EAS compliance
- A massive number of required forms
If you haven’t guessed, the legal industry profits greatly by assisting licensees on much of the above list of items — the costs of which have caused hundreds of broadcast stations to pull their transmitter’s plug.
The Death Camp Syndrome, while indirectly related to the broadcast industry, is worthy of consideration. Why is that? It illustrates how massive numbers of individuals can be so frightened with confusion, and frustration, that they will inevitably march willingly to their demise.
This nation is very seriously troubled, with issues smoke-screened with nonsense topics while ignoring those crucial to all Americans. We could talk about an incomprehensible national debt, disgracefully lacking medical care, abusive financial exploitation,
lack of personal privacy, net neutrality concerns, etc.
Many may assert that we have become the laughingstock of the world.
Our once dearly cherished Democracy with a government “Of, By and For the People” is now being compromised each day on behalf of what appears to be a Kleptocratic Swamp known as the U.S. Congress that is heavily influenced by deep-pocketed lobbyists.
Perhaps it is time for our print and broadcast media to formally join hands, and to fearlessly encourage a return to the days when we proudly pledged allegiance to our flag and sang The Star Spangled Banner.
A unified voice from the leaders of the nation’s radio and television stations, rallying against the policies and budgets from the leaders and decision-makers of this great nation that place a burden on broadcasters, could bring to the public eye what we have known for far too long.
Those who serve the public interest by obtaining an FCC license should not be the ones called upon to keep the lights on and the paychecks from bouncing.
Ken Benner is an independent Alternative FCC Compliance Certification Inspector and a research analyst for the Coalition for Transparency, Clarification and Simplification of Regulations pertaining to American Broadcasting. Benner has more than 55 years of experience providing service to the broadcast industry.
The views expressed by Media Information Bureau columnists are those of the writer only and not of the editorial board of the Radio + Television Business Report or its parent, Streamline Publishing.