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Engineering the Public Interest, 1922-1925: Technological Rationality and Institutionalization of American Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  27 The new licensing rule resulted in “dispens[ing] privilege to those who had already made their entry into the broadcasting industry.” There was certainly consensus on the need for reducing the number of stations. However, Hoover’s approach placed the focus only on two dozen commercial superpower stations without efforts to protect noncommercial, nonprofit broadcasting stations. Moreover, as Hoover adopted a policy allowing the selling of stations to modify licensing limitation, radio wavelengths allocated to individual stations in fact became authorized private properties. The radio channels were now available on the market. In crowded areas, the property value of stations with given wavelengths would be soaring. The intensified competition over the commercial interests would bring the attack in 1926 on Hoover’s authority and undermine the industrial agreements on the use of the airwaves forged through the four National Radio Conferences. The falsity of technological rationality in favor of the large corporations would erupt all disturbances and face legal challenges. The public interest principle based on technological standard was losing the ground to control new situations. 72 Conclusion The assumption of the public utility regulation was to ensure universal service by a few large corporations. The radio corporations’ technological approaches to the public interest principle equated commercial interests with public service and social progress. From the outset, the efforts to reconfigure the qualitative properties of the public interest had two clear purposes: defeating small local stations in the use of the wavelengths, and deriving the meaning of “public” from altruistic motives and contributions of noncommercial broadcasters. The technological standards in policy-making for power permission and spectrum allocation were a tool to smooth and naturalize the policy-making process. It replaced the laissez-faire egalitarian market principle in accessing the airwaves with the rule of efficiency by

Authors: Baek, Misook.
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27
The new licensing rule resulted in “dispens[ing] privilege to those who had already
made their entry into the broadcasting industry.” There was certainly consensus on the need for
reducing the number of stations. However, Hoover’s approach placed the focus only on two
dozen commercial superpower stations without efforts to protect noncommercial, nonprofit
broadcasting stations. Moreover, as Hoover adopted a policy allowing the selling of stations to
modify licensing limitation, radio wavelengths allocated to individual stations in fact became
authorized private properties. The radio channels were now available on the market. In crowded
areas, the property value of stations with given wavelengths would be soaring. The intensified
competition over the commercial interests would bring the attack in 1926 on Hoover’s authority
and undermine the industrial agreements on the use of the airwaves forged through the four
National Radio Conferences. The falsity of technological rationality in favor of the large
corporations would erupt all disturbances and face legal challenges. The public interest principle
based on technological standard was losing the ground to control new situations.
72
Conclusion
The assumption of the public utility regulation was to ensure universal service by a few
large corporations. The radio corporations’ technological approaches to the public interest
principle equated commercial interests with public service and social progress. From the outset,
the efforts to reconfigure the qualitative properties of the public interest had two clear purposes:
defeating small local stations in the use of the wavelengths, and deriving the meaning of “public”
from altruistic motives and contributions of noncommercial broadcasters.
The technological standards in policy-making for power permission and spectrum
allocation were a tool to smooth and naturalize the policy-making process. It replaced the
laissez-faire egalitarian market principle in accessing the airwaves with the rule of efficiency by


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