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Broadcast Ownership Regulation in a Border Era: An Analysis of how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is Shaping the Debate on Broadcast Ownership Limits
Unformatted Document Text:  10 especially why some issues make it onto the policy agenda while others remain unaddressed, Kingdon notes that “the president may be able to dominate and even determine the policy agenda, but is unable to dominate the alternatives that are seriously considered” (1995, p. 23). Because “the detailed negotiations—with the departments, the Hill, and the major special interest groups” are left to presidential staffers Kingdon argues that it is they who play a more important role in influencing the alternatives that are given serious consideration (1995, p. 27). Kingdon goes on to note that political appointees, including those in senior positions in executive branch agencies, also have the power to set policy agendas, provided their goals comport with those of the administration they serve (1995, pp. 27-30). When it comes to influencing the alternatives being actively considered Kingdon argues that career civil servants may have more power. “It is quite common for the higher-level appointees to define an agenda item and then to solicit the advice of careerists in drafting the proposals” (1995, p. 32). In the case of the broadcast ownership regulations it was not FCC Chairman Michael Powell who placed it on the FCC’s policy agenda. Rather, as was explained earlier, it was force of circumstances, including several court decisions and the requirement in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for a biennial review of all FCC regulations that prompted action. Chairman Powell did, however, have the power to decide how the review process should be approached. FCC staffers assigned the task of conducting the twelve studies, or suggesting which outside parties should be invited to complete the commissioned studies, also had the power to influence which ideas from the policy primeval soup would be incorporated into the final law-making stage. Therefore, the following sections of this paper do not review the validity of the arguments used in the twelve studies. Many others will have done this during the comment

Authors: Blevins, Jeffrey. and Brown, Duncan.
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10
especially why some issues make it onto the policy agenda while others remain unaddressed,
Kingdon notes that “the president may be able to dominate and even determine the policy
agenda, but is unable to dominate the alternatives that are seriously considered” (1995, p. 23).
Because “the detailed negotiations—with the departments, the Hill, and the major special interest
groups” are left to presidential staffers Kingdon argues that it is they who play a more important
role in influencing the alternatives that are given serious consideration (1995, p. 27).
Kingdon goes on to note that political appointees, including those in senior positions in
executive branch agencies, also have the power to set policy agendas, provided their goals
comport with those of the administration they serve (1995, pp. 27-30). When it comes to
influencing the alternatives being actively considered Kingdon argues that career civil servants
may have more power. “It is quite common for the higher-level appointees to define an agenda
item and then to solicit the advice of careerists in drafting the proposals” (1995, p. 32).
In the case of the broadcast ownership regulations it was not FCC Chairman Michael
Powell who placed it on the FCC’s policy agenda. Rather, as was explained earlier, it was force
of circumstances, including several court decisions and the requirement in the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 for a biennial review of all FCC regulations that prompted
action. Chairman Powell did, however, have the power to decide how the review process should
be approached. FCC staffers assigned the task of conducting the twelve studies, or suggesting
which outside parties should be invited to complete the commissioned studies, also had the
power to influence which ideas from the policy primeval soup would be incorporated into the
final law-making stage.
Therefore, the following sections of this paper do not review the validity of the
arguments used in the twelve studies. Many others will have done this during the comment


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