Table of Contents

Radio & Television

37. Micro Radio Stations

Micro radio stations should be allowed anywhere as long as they don’t interfere with any existing stations or with any other existing legal uses of those frequencies in that area.

Furthermore, to provide an educational training ground that allows mistakes to be made and views to be developed, these micro radio stations should be largely exempted from most of the penalties and fines associated with the broadcasting of inaccurate information and other things that would bring about fines if done on other, more ‘professional’ and larger-scale media forms (see point #15. Public Policing of Published Materials). The public should be encouraged to participate in micro radio formats by making speeches and doing other things that both allow them to develop their public speaking skills and speak their mind. Educators could use micro radio and micro TV (if possible) stations to have their students practice various skills.


38. Radio and TV Program Guides & Summaries

Each radio and television program should be required to broadcast summaries (of about 100 words or less) stating generally what the show is about as well as what this specific episode is about. These summaries should be explanatory enough so that an individual would not need to watch a show to find out accurately what it’s about. Radio and television stations should be required to broadcast this information constantly along with their regular radio or television signals so that receivers would be able to capture that information when it is tuned in.

A radio guide, in particular, would allow people to more easily find interesting topics on talk radio that would not only saving them a whole lot of time that may otherwise be spent searching and becoming frustrated, but also significantly improving the intelligence of the general population. A significant number of people would likely spend less time listening to music radio (a safer bet for enjoyment at any given time) if they had the tools to efficiently find, especially in advance, details about potentially interesting programs and topics across the radio.


39. Coordinated TV Broadcast of Breaking News Events

Instead of most TV (and radio) stations cutting into regular programming to bring breaking news to its viewers, most stations should just inform their viewers by having words run across the bottom of the screen without interfering with the regularly scheduled program’s video or audio feeds. Only a few stations, maybe just two or three, should break into its programs so that the population would have multiple and continuous news sources. The stations that do not break into programs should tell viewers of at least one other station that is showing the breaking news. Something similar could be set up for radio so that people are not frustrated by having their favorite programs pushed aside by breaking news, especially if the breaking news is about something trivial like a car chase, celebrity trial or something about which most viewers don’t or shouldn’t care much about.


40. Television Commercial Fine Print

All legal writings, disclaimers or fine print in televised materials should be legible enough to be read on a 20-inch TV screen of average resolution. Also, such writings should remain on the screen long enough to be read completely by a person reading at the speed of 5 words per second.


41. Personalized Cable/Satellite Channel Subscriptions

Cable companies should be required to offer consumers a much more customizable channel package, even to the point where consumers can pick and choose to which individual channels they want to subscribe. Cable companies should simply state a price for each channel’s subscription.

Also cable channels should never be rotated in or out of a customer’s line up without the explicit permission of the customer, even if the channels rotated into the package are offered for free.

Cable companies should also offer packages or bundles of various channels for whatever price they want. It is a commonly understood among people who study this issue, that not only does every channel have a different level of viewership than any other channel, but also that it is only a relatively few channels that pull in the majority of the viewers. Thus, most channels have relatively few viewers meaning that such channels would not be able to economically survive if they required people to specifically choose to purchase them.

Therefore, the costs of including many of these lower rated channels only marginally increase package prices. For example, would someone prefer to pay $50/month for 10 channels or $75/month for 50 channels?


42. Programming Regulations, Programming Order

All television and radio programs should advertise their various stories in the order in which they plan to show them. For example, some TV newsmagazine programs introduce their hour-long programs by advertising, at the very beginning of the program, the three or four different stories they plan to show that hour. But, often times, the stories they advertise first are not the first ones that are shown. This forces the viewer to wait through the previous stories, hoping that the next one is the one that they are interested in. This is very frustrating. Many times, because of their own personal schedules, people can’t stay and watch the full program, causing them to leave upset. These programs should either order their introductions so that they introduce their featured segments in the order in which they plan to show them in the main program, or they should clearly indicate the order or the general timeframe that each story is to be shown.

Programming Change Notifications

Programming schedule changes whether on television or radio should be announced over the station broadcasting that program or affected by the programming change at least once at the beginning and once at the end of the time slot affected by the program change and again during the first few minutes of the time slot (like right before the main first segment begins or during the first commercial break) to catch people that may have tuned in a little late.

Such announcements should be made anytime programming changes are made, whether they are temporary (such as during holiday broadcast schedules), permanent changes, or changes due to an emergency or breaking news.

In the case of permanent programming changes, the station should be required to make these announcements for at least the first two weeks and periodically (at least once a week) for at least two more weeks. Warnings of the impending change should also be broadcast a couple of weeks before the actual changes take place.

Broadcast Interruptions

Television and radio stations should be discouraged from running advertisements or otherwise interrupting or interfering during the broadcast of any part of a program, particularly during the ending when credits and/or music are being run. (Of course, emergency broadcasts and legitimate breaking news are exempted.) The media stations that do interrupt into any portion of scheduled programming, should pay the producers of the programs being interrupted the market rate for advertisements during this time.

When such interruptions causes some important information to be missed, such as a preview of what will be discussed on next time’s show, fines should be imposed on the broadcasting station that are equal to double or triple the normal commercial advertising costs for a minimum of 30 seconds of airtime or however long the interruption lasted, whichever is longer. All proceeds from such fines should be paid to the producers of the programming which suffered the interruption.


43. Radio Talk Show Call-In Policies

Drivers using cell phones while driving should not be allowed to call in to radio programs and be placed live on the air. This should apply even if the hands free function is used.

Radio talk shows should all be encouraged to air and address the questions of people who call in, but who are not willing to wait, sometimes hours on the phone before their call is taken. Radio talk show hosts certainly would be able to pick a greater number of far better questions to address (from a larger pool of people), and do so, more quickly, if they would just agree to answer the questions of callers who are not willing to wait on the phone to speak live.

People who call into talk radio shows and wait on the phone for their calls to be taken on the air should be told roughly when their call will be on the air. This can be done in several ways. Ether they could be told what number line they are on so when the host calls out for line #5, for example, that person would know who they are. Or the caller could receive something like a “your next” warning. It is so annoying to hear callers question whether they are on the air or not.