The FCC Turns Eighty and the Road Not Taken
Eighty-years ago, Calvin Coolidge, in the one of the most unfortunate acts of his presidency, signed into the law creating the Federal Radio Commission (the original name of the current Federal Communications Commission). Though Coolidge signed it, the FRC was the brainchild of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.
It was a typical Hoover reform. During the 1920s, he was a dynamo of activism. In a few years, he had cajoled scores of local governments to assume ownership of airports as well as implement zoning.
Perhaps Hoover’s proudest accomplishment during this period, however, was to single-handedly expand federal authority over the radio spectrum. Historians have praised him for bringing “order” to electromagnetic chaos. In actuality, as Jesse Walker explains, he had short-circuited promising efforts to introduce property rights and true free speech to the airwaves.
comments powered by Disqus
David T. Beito - 2/25/2007
You're right to key in on that. When I wrote it, I wondered if it was the right word.
Sudha Shenoy - 2/24/2007
Was it a 'reform'? Or a spanner in the works? For _govt officials_, yes, it _has_ to be a 'reform'. In terms of the spontaneous processes already underway, it's interference, wrecking, hammering, something destructive.
- Senate has a secret book of rules
- How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation
- Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History
- Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive
- England's King Richard III died painfully on battlefield
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead
- 2 of 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014 are historians
- Ken Burns electrifies Jon Stewart show