Why Bringing Back the Fairness Doctrine Won’t Cure What Ails Modern Media

The Beloved, If Misunderstood, FCC Rule’s Promise Was Far Greater Than Its Performance

The Fairness Doctrine—the federal communications policy, in place from 1949 to 1987, that required U.S. broadcasters to address controversial issues and provide airtime to conflicting sides—is newly popular. Advocates for the policy’s return view it as a potential solution to divisive and destructive problems of our contemporary media environment, particularly as a way to mitigate disinformation in partisan media outlets. But restoring the original rule, especially with its narrow application to broadcast stations, would do no such thing.

It’s useful to understand the new interest in the Fairness Doctrine as …

How Jack Benny Revolutionized Radio by Being the Butt of His Own Jokes

The Lovable Schlemiel Forged an Intimate Bond With Audiences While Creating a Template for Situational Comedy

Of all the 20th century’s great comics and clowns, none did more than Jack Benny to update vaudevillian shtick into a far more intimate and lucrative media form: broadcast radio …

The Day the Lone Ranger Died

The Radio Connected Us to the World More Deeply Than the Technologies That Followed

The digital age, we are told, has made media more immediate, more democratic, more visceral than what came before.

I have my doubts. Was there ever anything more visceral …

Art Laboe

Without Art Laboe, I’m So Lonely I Could Cry

The Icon Who Coined ‘Oldies but Goodies’ Is No Longer on L.A.’s Airwaves

The town I live in is lonely. So lonely I could cry. So goes the refrain from one of Thee Midniters’ hits, and such is the feeling in my heart …

KCRW Traffic Reporter Kajon Cermak

A Woman Who Lives Out Loud

Kajon Cermak is KCRW’s traffic queen, reporting on Southern California’s roads on weekday evenings during All Things Considered. Before moderating a panel on the future of traffic in L.A., she …

KCRW News Producer Saul Gonzalez

Why Not Top Ice Cream with Sausage?

Saul Gonzalez is a producer and reporter at KCRW; previously, he was a producer and host for PBS. Before moderating a discussion about Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first year in office, …