Migraines and the
Deregulation of Television
And Radio


I don't know if you wrote that stupid article about migraine, but let me tell you that the only thing that you are showing is your ignorance and I feel sorry for a person like you (if someone can call you person because you think like an animal).

Please go to a University and study before you can write something about a subject that you totally ignore.

How old are you? 5 years old? Or are you retarded?

--- inelow@yahoo.com

Dear Ms. Low:

I do get fan mail now and then. Yours is certainly one I will treasure.

I gather from the style and substance of your letter that you are the grade-school daughter of Professor Rodolfo Low, the author of the book in question.

Please be assured Ms. Low, that I certainly had no ill will in my heart toward your father when I wrote what I thought would be an amusing review for a literary magazine that was a bit off-kilter, edited by a man (or a woman) who is quite as strange a person as I.

Please be assured that Rodolfo is a name that is very dear to me, conjuring up images of the starving poet in La Boheme (even if he is played by the 350 lb. Luciano Pavarotti), as well as of the dashing Latin Lover who graced the silent screen with his dark, brooding eyes before which any woman, even you yourself, Ms. Low, would melt in ecstasy.

In that spirit of adoration and respect, Ms. Low, may I ask you to gaze once more upon my meager words and reconsider whether they do not have some soupçon of merit?

Also, please bear in mind that I wrote that review in 1988, when, in fact, as you point out in your letter, I was both 5 years old and retarded, being an idiot savant.

--- M. Ingall, M. D.


§     §     §


Brian Lowry
%The L A Times
Los Angeles CA 90053

Dear Brian:

It drives me crazy when you and other media critics talk about the "deregulation" of broadcasting (your column of August 1.)

When trucking was deregulated, anyone who wanted to could buy a truck and go into the business. When airlines were deregulated, anyone who had interest and was willing to follow safety procedures could start an airline.

Broadcasting was never deregulated. If you have any doubt of this, write to the FCC and tell them you want to start a radio or television station in Los Angeles. They'll write you back and tell you that there are no frequencies available. They will tell you can always buy an existing license. For $20,000,000 - $100,000,000 that makes it, at least for most of us, a non-option.

If there were to be a true opening of frequencies, anyone (you or I or anyone in this city) could apply for Channel 11 (TV) or 96.3 mHz (FM) or 790 kHz (AM). If we proved to the FCC that we would be providing a better service than the present owners, the license would be given to us. But fifteen years ago, Congress made this approach impossible.

In other words, under the rubric of "deregulation," existing broadcasters --- unlike truckers and airlines --- have been given eternal squatting rights on their frequencies. A couple of years ago, when the FCC tried to open up FM frequencies for non-corporate low-power operations --- commercial and public broadcasters alike demanded that congress "protect" their frequencies. Legislation to this effect was immediately passed which restricted new FM stations to the backwoods of Montana and South Dakota and Minnesota and Alabama.

The reality is that deregulation has effected a consolidation of broadcast licensees into the hands of a few huge corporations. Twenty years ago, no one entity could have more than 5 TV, 7 AM, or 7 FM stations. There are now operators, such as Infinity Broadcasting (Viacom), who own more than 1,000 radio stations. We thus have a bitterly restrictive federal broadcast policy that encourages oligopolies, which is anathema to the free marketplace of ideas.

--- Lorenzo W. Milam


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Dear L. Milam:

I think we're saying the same thing in a different way. Broadcasting has been "deregulated," in terms of loosening or removing existing regulations that constrain those who already hold stations. So yes, while there are regulations in place --- and they clearly favor those ensconced --- the regulations that limited them have been slackened.

As for wanted to launch stations, the cost of admission has been raised, but it was always high. The point of the column, and most of what I've written on the topic, is that the business is regulated to favor the big guys who own it already. Whatever you want to call it, that's the result, and that's what I was referring to.

--- Brian Lowry

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