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Television: The Limits of Deregulation

Lori A. Brainard
Television: The Limits of Deregulation
ISBN: 978-1-58826-244-8
2003/198 pages/LC: 2003047161
Explorations in Public Policy

"A cogently written and closely argued book which suggests that 'common knowledge' can often be wrong."—Chris Sterling, Communication Booknotes Quarterly

"Brainard's book provides a strong basis for deeper examinations of change in the regulatory and the broader policy process.... The suggestive insights of Television: The Limits of Deregulation argue strongly for extending the analysis outward to other areas of regulation, indeed, to other areas of public policy."—Richard Harris, Perspectives on Politics

"This useful, well-documented book provides an alternative view of deregulation by presenting one case in detail. Highly recommended."—Choice


Despite a broad political environment conducive to deregulation, television is one industry that consistently fails to loosen government's regulatory grip. To explain why, Lori Brainard explores the technological changes, industry structures, and political dynamics influencing this policy quagmire.

Contradicting current scholarly and popular accounts, Brainard demonstrates that new technologies do not determine policy outcomes, nor does the television industry always get its own way in the policy arena—in fact, public interest groups have been unusually successful at influencing television policy over the last thirty years. She concludes that the multifaceted political and social contexts in which television exists have resulted in incremental and incomplete deregulation punctuated by numerous episodes of reregulation and institutional warfare—thwarting all attempts at dramatice and decisive reform.


Lori Brainard is associate professor of public administration at The George Washington University.


  • Regulation and Deregulation in Theory and Practice.
  • The Developing "Television Problem."
  • Changing Policy to Accommodate Technology?
  • Fragmentation, Negotiation, and the Industry's Failure to Determine Policy.
  • Putting Television Policy into a Broader Context.
  • The Limits of Television Deregulation.