Faced with legal challenges8 and, in 1998 alone, over 13,000 inquiries from people and groups interested in starting low-power stations, the government relented, and in January 2000, completed a process creating a new low-power FM (LPFM) service.9 In the space of two years, the FCC had gone from raiding and shutting down microradio stations to inviting applications for low-power broadcast licenses. Such a dramatic shift in policy could only come about through a reinterpretation of the public interest standard. Part III of this Comment continues by analyzing
the concept of the public interest that underlies the new LPFM service and locating this conception in the continuing history of the government regulation of the broadcast spectrum.
This Comment concludes by suggesting that the “public interest” is and should remain a public policy question, subject to democratic controls through national elections. Following that reasoning, courts should continue their historical practice of deferring to rationally based FCC conceptions as to what constitutes the public interest.
Which Public, Whose Interest? The FCC, the Public Interest, and Low-Power Radio,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol38/iss4/7