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Re: XM Satellite Radio

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Pappalardo" <joepappalardo2001@yahoo.com>
To: "Roger Kirk" <rogerkirk@ttlc.net>;
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 3:58 AM
Subject: Re: XM Satellite Radio

> Radio is like publishing....you don't have to sell ads to anyone you don't
> want to.  The only situation where there are regulations...is when it
> to political spots....where the playing field has to be (somewhat) level
> when it comes to access.

The Court stopped short of saying that in the CBS case.  The opinion allows
Congress tp pass a law requiring stations to accept certain ads and they did
just that in the case of candidates for federal office.  Congress could not
pass such a law in the case of publishers.

> Someone here mentioned it only applied to candidates for federal office.
> What about political spots on a local basis?  Can a station sell time to
> candidate for mayor...and refuse to sell time to his opponent...?  Anyone
> know...?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that if a radio station sells ads to
one candidate in a state or local race, the station must sell ads to the
other candidates in that race, but I don't know for sure.

> As far as Dan's supposition about an imaginary station refusing to sell
> to African-American businesses.  I think that issue is not an FCC
> a civil rights rule.  If an owner/operator wants to chance being liable
> millions of dollars...and/or losing his shirt/station on civil rights
> charges...I suppose he can do that...and chance going to court.
> Again, this is not for the editorial content of the station....but for the
> "open for business" sign that he hangs out.  You can't be "open for
> business" and exclude people of color, gender, faith, etc...

I disagree.  I don't know if this has been litigated, but it seems to me
that the First Amendment trumps Civil Rights law.  I do not think Congress
could require a newspaper publisher to not discriminate in the case of ad
sales.  In another context, the Supreme Court has said that selection of ads
is part of editorial control protected by the First Amendment.

In the case of radio and TV, First Amendment protection is more limited
since they use the public airwaves so I would think that Congress could
require broadcasters to not discriminate in ad sales.

-- Dan Billings, Bowdoinham, Maine