SITE MAP ( Subdirectory of Pages Linked To This Site)

This site was created by

Fritz Messere, Associate Professor of Broadcasting and Mass Communications at

State University of New York - Oswego

The Federal Radio Commission was created as a result of the passage of the Radio Act of 1927 (PL 632, 69th Congress, 2nd.) approved February 23, 1927 and signed by President Coolidge on February 23. The Act was created to bring order to the chaotic situation that developed as a result of the breakdown of earlier wireless acts passed during the formative years of wireless radio communication.

The Act created a five member commission with each member representing a different geographic region of the country. Members' terms overlapped and ran six years. The FRC was given licensing authority for only one year, after which licensing authority was to revert back to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Commission's primary duty was to solve the interference problem which developed after the Radio Act of 1912 became unenforceable.

In the first Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) the commissioners wrote:

The passage of the radio act of 1927 presented a situation without parallel in the history of American executive departments. A wholly new Federal body was called into being to deal with a condition which had become almost hopelessly involved during the months following July 3, 1926, when it had become clear that the Department of Commerce had no authority under the 1912 radio law to allocate frequencies, withhold radio licenses, or regulate power or hours of transmission. The new law itself was, of course, totally untested, and the Federal Radio Commission was called upon to administer it with no clear knowledge as to the limitations which might be created by subsequent court action.

In Stayed Tuned broadcast historians Christopher Sterling and John Kittross note that there were several key assumptions underlying the 1927 Act. Among them were:

These pages have been set up to help students of broadcasting, telecommunications, and public policy study the documents associated with the creation of the electronic media in the United States. The Subdirectory will allow you to link to various documents related to the licensing and authorization process that occupied the FRC's attention during its first few years.


From this site you can also link to information about telecommunications, how to do research on telecommunications policy, and other subjects related to telecommunications and mass communications.


Comments or Question e-mail messere

Site last modified 8/22/97

*These pages are not affiliated with, maintained, or funded by the United States government.