If TV stations were as common as weblogs

Clay Shirky's latest essay contains an interesting "what-if" following the USA FCC's decision to raise ownership limitations on TV networks. TV and radio broadcasting is regulated, has limited outlets and high barriers to entry... how else could they work?

He looks at the world of weblogs as a media experiment, one in which there are no regulations, unlimited outlets and low barriers to entry. What if conventional media's landscapes were changed to match this: "Restrictions on internet broadcast of radio and TV should be dropped, web radio stations must live in the same copyright regime broadcast stations do, much more unlicensed spectrum must be made available, and so on." This "diverse and free" model certainly wouldn't be more equal in terms of audience distribution -- the weblog world is hugely unbalanced in this respect, with popular weblogs having an audience orders of magnitude higher than other weblogs. But Shirky suggests it's unlikely that one company could command the kind of audience share they can under the current, regulated, model.

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