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Access to locally-oriented television broadcasting in a digital era

Comer, Jonathan C., Wikle, Thomas A.
Applied geography 2015 v.60 pp. 280-287
cold, geography, households, issues and policy, markets, radio, satellites, socioeconomic factors, sports, television, United States
Defined as the connection between media and communities, localism has been a cornerstone of U.S. broadcasting policy since the late 1920s. Among other ways, the principle of localism has been advanced through Federal Communication Commission licensing rules favoring small radio and television stations that carry local news, sports, and other programming serving community needs and values. However, in recent years changes in federal policy coupled with the emergence of new broadcasting technologies such as enhanced cable and satellite-based television have profoundly altered the relationship between broadcasting and local communities. Increasingly, community-centered television content has been replaced with syndicated programming targeting a national audience. In this paper we examine socioeconomic factors most closely associated with over-the-air, pay-to-view cable, and satellite television broadcasting with the objective of uncovering how access to community-based programming can be characterized on the basis of socioeconomic factors and geographic location. Using the Nielsen Corporation's Designated Market Areas (DMAs), we identify hot and cold spots of reception by reception type and then use hierarchical clustering to identify geographic regions based on the relationship between select socioeconomic traits and the primary method used within households for receiving television signals.