Jerold Starr

Jerold M. Starr is executive director of Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting and the author of Air Wars: The Fight to Reclaim Public Broadcasting.

Recent Articles

Signal Degradation

The assault on educational licenses by conservative religious broadcasters has its roots in the Reagan Revolution, when then-FCC Chairman Mark Fowler pledged "to take deregulation to the limits of existing law." Fowler's FCC abolished the guidelines for local, news and public-affairs, and nonentertainment programming and dropped almost all public interest standards in deference to the "property rights" of broadcasters. By 1989 one of three network affiliates offered no public-affairs programs, and one of six no news. Limits on prime-time advertising were rescinded, commercial time was doubled, and by the end of the 1980s, a new format--program-length infomercials--consumed 3 percent of broadcast time. Pursuing their "defund the left" strategy, Reagan's allies in Congress rescinded appropriations for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting while the FCC loosened PBS program underwriting guidelines to allow "trade names," "logos or slogans," and "product symbols" to appear before and...