CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
A Chicago lawyer well versed in communications issues, Newton Minow was appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on 10 January 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. He was sworn in on 2 March 1961 and immediately began to do battle with bad taste and manipulative programming.
A Vast Wasteland.
His speech to the National Association of Broadcasters in May 1961 set offa firestorm of controversy. His labeling of television programming as "a vast wasteland" angered network executives and pleased critics of television. In addition to the technical concerns of the FCC—license renewal, technology issues, and others—Minow made the improvement of the content of television and radio one of his main projects. While he had no statutory authority over content, Minow used the power of the commission to hold hearings to try and change the...
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