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Background on Better TVFact SheetList of Broadcasters Using the Public Airwaves for DTV • Recent Survey Results • Press Releases

Results of TV Survey from Lake Snell Perry and Associates

Americans are in favor of asking television broadcasters to do more in return for the free use of public airwaves according to a recent survey by Lake Snell Perry & Associates. The public would like to see more educational programming for both children and adults, a reduction in the number of commercials during children's TV shows, and financial support from broadcasters to support public television and noncommercial programming.

As America begins the digital television age, the public has little understanding of what digital TV will mean for them and lacks knowledge about basic industry facts. For example, the great majority of Americans (71 percent) do not know that broadcasters get free access to the airwaves. A near majority have not heard anything about digital television and those who have heard about digital TV believe that it means little more than a better picture.

Americans strongly support individual proposals to require broadcasters to do more in return for the free use of new public airwaves for digital television. A majority of Americans say that television programming is currently off on the wrong track, and they are particularly dissatisfied with the lack of children's and educational programming. They give their strongest support to proposals that call on broadcasters to support public education and educational programming and to reduce the number of commercials during children's television shows:


Table A: % in Favor of Proposals Asking Broadcasters to...






Strongly Favor

...limit the number of commercials that could be shown during children's television



...provide free internet service to public schools



...provide more adult education programs and access to community college courses on TV



...make children's television shows commercial free



Once people learn that the airwaves are currently given to broadcasters for free, there is considerable support for charging broadcasters for additional airwaves they may need. A majority (54 percent) favor charging the broadcasters while 30 percent are opposed. Support for charging broadcasters grows to 79 percent in favor (48 percent strongly favor) for a specific proposal to require commercial broadcasters to pay 5 percent of their revenues into a fund for public broadcasting to provide more educational and noncommercial programing.

When discussed in the context of continuing to give broadcasters free use of additional airwaves, there is near unanimous support (80 percent in favor, 49 percent strongly favor) for broadcasters meeting certain public obligations like more children's education programming and more local programming. Only seven percent are opposed.

The public is also overwhelmingly supportive (84 percent in favor, 55 percent strongly favor) of requiring broadcasters to follow existing law to require three hours of children's educational programming on any new channels they may create.

Even after the public is reminded that they get free broadcast TV in return for giving broadcasters free access to the airwaves, they still support asking broadcasters to do more. After hearing arguments from both sides of the issue, a solid majority (55 percent) agrees that it is time for the broadcasters to pay their fair share and give something back to the taxpayers.

Slide 1: Survey Introduction

Slide 2: Survey Methodology

Slide 3: Opinion on TV Programming According to Race

Slide 4: How Much do Broadcasters Pay for Airwave Access?

Slide 5: Should We Charge Broadcasters for Additional Airwaves?

Slide 6: Should We Charge Broadcasters for Additional Airwaves: Results by Political Affiliation and Gender

Slide 7: Should We Charge Broadcasters for Additional Airwaves: Results from African American and Hispanic Population

Slide 8: Should We Charge Broadcasters for Access to the Airwaves to Provide Digital Television?

Slide 9: Should We Require Broadcasters to Meet Public Obligations in Return for Free Access to Provide Digital TV on New Public Airwaves?

Background on Better TVFact SheetList of Broadcasters Using the Public Airwaves for DTV • Recent Survey Results • Press Releases

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