His basic message--broadcasters have lobbied their way to an enviable position and will likely retain it in the near-term future at least. Snider makes clear why that is the case (acting as the local campaign outlets for congressmen surely doesn't hurt) and how the public is (as always) the loser in this power game.
Earlier the author of several reports and a useful reference chart on the spectrum allocation process (available from the Foundation on line at no charge), political scientist Snider here takes on two main topics in separate parts of the book.
Broadcasters as information agents assesses the strength of the industry lobby and its function and strategies, this in seven chapters.
Case study: the great spectrum giveaway references the second channel given to television broadcasters to encourage them to take on digital broadcasts...a process which appears only to have entrenched the formerly single-channel communicators into long-term ownership where digital means dividing an existing channel into four signals no better than any we receive now. Anything to push out more advertising.
A brief third part, recommendations, offers just that for policymakers.
Several appendices underpin the text, including a useful chronology (annotated and broken into periods) of American advanced television industrial policy–or the lack of same.
This is a well-researched and hard-hitting volume—we can only hope it has some impact on the policy process. (Chris Sterling)