Table of Contents
This Act may be cited as the Audience Network Act.
Comment: Proponents of the statute may wish to introduce the substantive comments following the provisions of the Statute, as well as relevant parts of the discussion
preceding the legislative history. They will aid in subsequent judicial and administrative interpretation of the Act.
This model statute is similar to laws establishing successful consumer action groups in the public utility area. (1)
This adaptation is particularly appropriate in light of the fact
that Congress borrowed the standard of “public interest, convenience and necessity” which permeates the Communications Act of 1934 from public utility legislation. (2)
Section 2. Purposes of the Corporation.
The purposes for which the Corporation is organized are as follows:
(a) To operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including, but not limited to, managing the operation of radio and television broadcast licenses according
to the provisions of this Act, representing the interests of broadcast consumers before public bodies and courts and performing research relating to communications issues and
other subjects of social justice and enlightenment for dissemination to the general public.
(b) At no time shall the Corporation engage in any activities that are unlawful under the laws of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any other jurisdiction where
any of its activities are carried on.
(c) No part of the assets or net earnings of the Corporation shall ever be used, nor shall the Corporation ever be organized or operated, for purposes that are not exclusively
charitable or educational within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code.
(d) The Corporation shall never be operated for the primary purpose of carrying on a trade or business for profit.
(e) The Corporation shall not carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation to an extent that would disqualify it for tax exemption under Section
501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Nor shall the Corporation, directly or indirectly, participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate
for public office.
(f) Pursuant to the prohibition contained in Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, no part of the net earnings, current or accumulated, of the Corporation shall ever inure to the
benefit of any private individual.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, if at any time or times the Corporation is a private foundation within the meaning of Section 509 of the IRS Code, then
during such time or times:
(1) The Corporation shall distribute its income for each taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to subject the Corporation to tax under Section 4942 of the IRS
(2) The Corporation shall not engage in any act of self-dealing as defined in Section 4941(d) of the IRS Code;
(3) The Corporation shall not retain any excess business holdings as defined in Section 4943 (c)(3) of the IRS Code;
(4) The Corporation shall not make any investments in such a manner as to subject the Corporation to tax under Section 4944 of the IRS Code; and
(5) The Corporation shall not make any taxable expenditures as defined in Section 4945(d) of the IRS Code.
Section 3. Statement of Legislative Intent.
The purpose of this Act is to ensure effective, democratic representation of broadcast consumers before regulatory bodies, legislatures, courts and other public bodies, to
establish a practical means whereby broadcast consumers can provide themselves with education and advice concerning broadcast issues and to provide a means for public
access to the airwaves by:
(a) Creating Audience Network, a permanent nonprofit Corporation the duties of which are representing the interests of broadcast consumers in proceedings before
regulatory agencies, legislatures, courts and other public bodies; monitoring and commenting on broadcasting laws and regulations, working to improve the practices of
broadcast enterprises; providing educational and advisory services to broadcast consumers; and effectuating public access to the airwaves;
(b) Providing democratic accountability of the Delegates and Board of Directors of the organization to the will of Audience Network consumer constituency through open
elections with thorough financial disclosure requirements and campaign finance limitations.
(c) Encouraging active citizen participation by broadcast consumers on issues involving broadcast laws and regulations, in the regulatory process, and in the practices of the
(d) Creating an efficient funding mechanism for the organization, involving no compulsory burden whatsoever on the taxpayers of the United States, whereby individual
broadcast consumers may voluntarily contribute to the organization.
Section 4. Definitions.
(a) “Board” means the Board of Directors of the Corporation.
(b) “Broadcast consumers” means individual persons who are residents or citizens of the United States and who view and/or listen to television and/or radio.
(c) “Broadcast enterprises” means all entities licensed, authorized, or otherwise regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (here-in after FCC or Commission)
which engage in broadcasting by means of A.M. or F.M. radio, or U.H.F. or V.H.F. television.
(d) “Broadcast equipment” means equipment used for the transmission and reception of radio or television, regulated by the Commission.
(e) “Campaign contribution” means:
(1) a gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, made for the purpose of electing a Candidate as a Delegate or Director of the Corporation; or
(2) a contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make any campaign contribution; but
(3) does not include:
(A) the value of services provided without compensation by individuals who volunteer a portion or all of their time on behalf of a Candidate; or
(B) the use of real or personal property and the cost of invitations, food and beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to a Candidate in rendering voluntary personal
services on the individual’s residential premises for candidate-related activities if the cumulative value of such activities by such individual on behalf of any Candidate does not
exceed $100.00 for any election.
Comment: The language of this definition is based on the Federal Election Campaign Act (3) with certain modifications to adapt the provisions to the nature of Audience
Network campaigns. The provisions of (e)(3) exclude from the campaign contribution limitations of Section 20(f)(1) certain types of activities common to grass-roots
campaigns, particularly a Candidate’s use of a supporter’s house, on a voluntary basis, as a local headquarters for canvassing or telephoning. Underlying the provision is the
policy of encouraging public participation in political campaigns at the grass-roots level. Subversion of the Section 20(f)(1) campaign contribution limitation through
excessive use of the subsection 4(e)(3) exclusion is made unlikely by the $100.000 limitation per individual supporter on such unrecorded donations.
(f) “Campaign expenditure” means:
(1) a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, made for the purpose of electing a Candidate as a Delegate or Director of
the Corporation; or
(2) a contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make any campaign expenditure;
(3) but does not include: A) the use of real or personal property and the cost of invitations, food and beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to a Candidate in
rendering voluntary personal services on the individual’s residential premises for Candidate related activities if the cumulative value of such activities by such individual on
behalf of any candidate does not exceed $100.00 for any election.
Comment: The language of this provision is also based on the Federal Election Campaign Act (4) with certain modifications. The considerations underlying this provision
are similar to those underlying subsection (e). The use of office space, equipment and staff services and the provision of transportation, fall within the scope of “campaign
(g) “Commission” means the Federal Communications Commission.
(h) “Corporation” means Audience Network.
(i) “Delegate” means any person serving as Delegate under the provisions of Sections 18, 19 and 20 of this Act.
(j) “Director” means any person serving on the Board of Directors of the Corporation under the provisions of Sections 14, 15 and 20 of this Act.
(k) “District” means a Corporation District, the boundaries of which are congruent with the boundaries of the congressional districts in each state.
(l) “Immediate family” means a person’s spouse and legal dependents.
(m) “Member” means any person who satisfies the requirements for membership under Section 5(b) of this Act.
(n) “Proceeding” means a hearing, meeting, or other such activity conducted by the Commission or other regulatory agency or subdivision thereof or other public body for
the purpose of promulgating rules and regulations that affect the interests of broadcast consumers, including applications for broadcasting licenses and license renewals,
applications for permits for construction of broadcast facilities, adjudications of complaints, claims and disputes involving broadcast consumers, and collection of information
on matters that affect the interests of broadcast consumers.
(o) “Public body” means a governmental office, agency, department, or commission at the federal, state or local level.
(p) “Regulatory body” means a governmental office, agency, department, or commission at the federal, state or local level, which controls, directs or governs a specified
industry, activity or subject matter.
Section 5. Creation of the Corporation.
(a) A nonprofit Corporation shall be created which will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government, to be known as “Audience Network” hereinafter
referred to as the Corporation. The Corporation shall be subject to the provisions of this Act, and, to the extent consistent with this Act, to the District of Columbia
Nonprofit Corporations Act. (5)
(b) The membership of the Corporation shall consist of all individual broadcast consumers sixteen years of age or older who have contributed to the Corporation at least
$10.00 in either its preceding or its current fiscal year or who have received a waiver of the membership fee pursuant to the procedures required by the Board; provided,
that any person may resign from membership.
Comment: Sixteen years of age is set as the minimum age for membership in order to encourage young people to become acquainted with public issues and to give them an
opportunity to participate in public affairs.
The provision for membership based on contributions in either the preceding or current fiscal year is to enable the payment of membership fees in installments. It ensures that
persons who have qualified for membership in the past year, but those who have not reached the requisite minimum for membership as of the election date (which might
conceivably be set for early in the fiscal year) are not barred from voting. The provision for a waiver of the membership fee is to ensure that all citizens will have an
opportunity to join Audience Network.
A person becomes a member of Audience Network as soon as his or her contributions, as recorded on the Corporation’s books, reaches the requisite minimum, or as soon as
he or she is granted a waiver of the membership fee. The $10 fee best serves the goals of obtaining a broad membership base and maximizing total contributions. A
contribution to Audience Network, is not refundable if the member resigns from membership. Pursuant to Section 15(b)(6), the Interim Board will determine what is
required to receive a fee waiver.
The Corporation, in its Bylaws, may wish to include procedures and criteria for membership revocation for abuses of the privileges of membership.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter or any other provision of law, if the Corporation does not receive contribuof the effective date of this Act and at
least $9,000,000 within six years of the effective date of this Act, the Corporation shall be dissolved.
Section 6. Incorporation of Audience Network.
(a) The Commission and the majority and minority leaders of the House and the Senate shall each appoint one of five incorporators, who shall serve as the Interim Board of
Directors until their successors are elected and qualified. The appointees shall reflect the geographic diversity of the United States and shall include representation from
women and minority groups as defined by the Commission. No interim Director appointed under this Section may hold an elected position, be a candidate for any elective
position, or hold official local, state or federal government office.
(b) Such incorporators shall promulgate the initial Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and take whatever other actions are necessary to establish the Corporation, which
are in conformity with the provisions of this Act.
Comment: The purpose of this method of appointment of the interim Directors is to avoid the dependence or appearance of dependence of the Corporation upon the
Commission or upon any political party. Diversity in the background of the appointees is required to insure that the Interim Board adequately reflects groups the
Commission and Congress have identified as under represented in the broadcasting area. The exclusion of these groups in the past has been found to be detrimental to
minority and female audiences and the general public. Such inclusion is a primary objective of the Communications Act and the First Amendment.
Section 7. Duties, Rights and Powers.
(a) The Corporation shall:
(1) Effectively represent and protect the interests of broadcast consumers of the United States and facilitate public access to the airwaves. All actions which it undertakes
under the provisions of this Act shall be directed toward these goals.
(2) Inform, insofar as possible and according to the provisions of this Act, all broadcast consumers about the Corporation, including the procedure for obtaining
membership in the Corporation.
(3) Make available to all broadcast consumers information on the operation and regulation of broadcast enterprises, on the process by which members can gain access to
the airwaves, and information on other issues relating to broadcasting which the Corporation deems is in the interest of the membership.
(4) Seek and maintain tax-exempt status under state and federal laws, including 501(c)(3) status under the United States IRS Code. (6)
Comment: This provision facilitates funding by voluntary contributions. In addition, this provision assures that Audience Network will be primarily an educational entity.
In order to maintain its tax-exempt status, the Corporation will be required by the IRS to refrain from propagandizing, supporting or opposing political candidates and from
participating in other partisan activities. These restrictions will insure the non-partisan, educational nature of Audience Network.
(5) The Corporation shall authorize members to form local and regional chapters. The boundaries of the local chapters shall be congruent with the boundaries of
Districts. Regional chapters may be formed by combining local chapters within and among states, pursuant to Section 19(d). The Corporation may provide any such
chapters with appropriate financial, technical and other assistance.
Comment: Although a nationwide scheme is necessary to coordinate the activities of the Corporation, it is also essential that local and regional chapters are established to
encourage and facilitate direct involvement in activities of the Corporation by individual Members on the local level. Delegates must be in close contact with their
Member/constituents in order to carry out the provisions of this Act and to facilitate the production and airing of diverse local programming targeted to meet the specific
needs of each community.
Regional chapters may organize around the numerous broadcast enterprises in metropolitan areas. In less populated areas, regional chapters may be formed by combining
several local chapters. Since broadcast signals often extend over state boundaries, some regional chapters will be made up of local chapters from different states. Regional
chapters are essential to efficiently plan and implement production ideas and to promote sharing of desired programs.
(b) The Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation shall claim the Corporation all rights and powers accorded generally to, and shall be subject to all duties imposed generally
upon, non-profit corporations under the laws of the District of Columbia.
(c) The Corporation shall have all the powers necessary or convenient for the effective representation and protection of the interests of broadcast consumers and to
implement this chapter, including but not limited to the following powers:
(1) To make, amend and repeal Bylaws and rules for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of business; to adopt an official seal and alter it at pleasure; to maintain
an office; to sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded; and to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of
the powers of the Corporation.
(2) To conduct, support, and assist research, surveys, investigations, planning activities, conferences, demonstration projects, individual consumer counseling, seminars,
and public information activities concerning the interests of broadcast consumers.
Comment: This provision would permit Audience Network to gather information useful in Commission proceedings, such as licensing and renewal hearings, and serve as
one means by which the Corporation can keep abreast of the public’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the activities of broadcast enterprises in general and the efforts of
Audience Network in particular. Further, Audience Network could use the information gathered to educate citizens and members thereby insuring fully informed decision-making on the part of the membership regarding Audience Network activities.
(3) To employ such agents, employees and special advisors as it finds necessary and to fix their compensation. Provided, that no Director or Delegate, nor member of his
or her immediate family, shall either directly or indirectly, be employed for compensation as a staff member or consultant of the Corporation.
Comment: This provision permits Audience Network to employ lawyers, accountants, consultants and others whose expert services are necessary, for example, to
effectively represent the interests of broadcast consumers at administrative, judicial or legislative proceedings. It also permits Audience Network to hire a professional audio
and visual production staff.
This provision cannot be construed to permit employment by Audience Network of its Directors or Delegates whose compensation is limited by Sections 14 (d) and 18 (e) to
wages actually lost up to $160 a day and expenses necessarily incurred by them in the performance of their duties.
(4) To represent the interests of broadcast consumers before the Commission, Congress, state legislatures, courts and other regulatory and public bodies, except as this Act
(5) To intervene as a party or otherwise participate on behalf of broadcast consumers in any proceeding which affects the interests of broadcast consumers.
(6) The Corporation shall be authorized to transmit written complaints by broadcast consumers regarding the practices of broadcast enterprises to the Commission or
appropriate regulatory or other public body. The Commission or other regulatory or public body shall promptly inform the Corporation of its response. Upon receipt of the
response, the Corporation will promptly inform the consumer of it.
(7) The Corporation, during any of its air time or in any other of its activities, shall not sponsor, endorse, or otherwise support, nor shall it oppose, any political party or the
candidacy of any person for public offick with any political party. This does not prohibit, however, Audience Network at the local or national level from offering free air time
to qualified candidates for office on a non-discriminatory basis if carried out according to IRS rules. Nor does it prohibit Audience Network from complying with any
applicable laws or Commission rules regarding political candidate access.
(8) The Corporation shall be authorized to sell or exchange access to its air time, up to and including the entire hour it is licensed to broadcast on each frequency, to any
broadcast enterprise; provided that the Corporation shall not itself accept payment for advertisements aired on Audience Network licensed air time. Any broadcast enterprise
may voluntarily grant, exchange or sell air time to the Corporation.
Comment: Audience Network may break its time into spots on a given day or to present its one hour show at some time other than prime time or drive time. By granting the
Corporation the right to drive time and prime time, Congress gives the organization effective bargaining power vis-a-vis the stations. This provision allows the Corporation
to raise funds for expensive television production and distribution. These funds will be especially necessary during Audience Network’s transition period designated pursuant
to Section 15 (b)(7). The identification requirements of Section 11(d) will prevent any confusion as to who is broadcasting when the schedule is altered.
Audience Network’s ability to return radio air time to the licensee is limited by the requirements of Section 11(f)(1) and television air time by Section 11 (1) requirement that
a certain percentage of air time be reserved for local access time so long as there is enough demand to fill it.
The provisions of Section 11 would apply to any air time re-allocated between Audience Network and any broadcast enterprise under this provision.
(9) The Corporation shall have, in addition to the rights and powers enumerated in this Act, such other incidental rights and powers as are reasonable and necessary for the
effective representation of the interests of broadcast consumers and for the facilitation of public access to the airwaves.
Section 8. Representation of Citizens in Commission Proceedings.
(a) Notification of Impending Proceedings.
The Commission shall notify the Corporation in advance of the time, place, subject and names of parties of each proceeding, which the body reasonably determines may affect
the interests of broadcast consumers. The Commission shall notify the Corporation within five days after the scheduled date of the proceeding is fixed.
Comment: The purpose of this provision is to alert Audience Network to hearings which affect the interests of broadcast consumers in time to prepare adequately for
participation in those hearings. While the Commission is given the authority to determine the relevance of the hearing to broadcast consumer interests, Audience Network
may still independently monitor regulatory agendas and participate or intervene in proceedings regardless of official notification. This provision is to aid efficiency and
minimize Audience Network monitoring.
If the Commission fails to notify Audience Network of a proceeding affecting the interests of broadcast consumers, the Corporation may intervene or otherwise participate in
the proceeding under subsection (b), infra, and may seek judicial review of the Commission’s decision under Section 9, infra.
(b) Intervention and Participation in Proceedings.
(1) The Corporation may intervene as a matter of right or otherwise participate in any proceeding of the Commission or other regulatory or public body which the
Corporation reasonably determines may affect the interests of broadcast consumers.
(2) The intervention or participation of the Corporation in any such proceeding shall not affect the obligation of the Commission or other regulatory or public body to
operate in the public interest.
Comment: This statutory grant of intervention rights to Audience Network would in practice differ little in content from intervention standards now in effect. (7) The
Commission would pass judgment on the reasonableness of Audience Network’s determination that broadcast consumer’s interest “may [be] affect[ed].” A decision against
intervention would be a final judgment appealable to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
(c) Conduct of the Proceeding.
When the Corporation intervenes or participates in a proceeding of the Commission or other regulatory or public body, it shall be subject to all laws and rules of procedure of
general applicability governing the conduct of the proceeding and the rights of interveners and participants. The Corporation shall have the same rights regarding
representation by counsel, participation in pre-hearing conferences, discovery, requests for issuance of subpoenas by the agency, stipulation of facts, presentation and cross-examination of witnesses, oral and written arguments, participation in settlement negotiations and other aspects of the proceeding as are accorded to other interveners under
the laws of the United States, the regulations of the Commission or other regulatory or public body, except as otherwise provided in this Act.
Comment: This provision essentially ensures Audience Network use of agency procedures.
Section 9. Judicial Actions.
(a) If the Board reasonably determines that bringing a civil action against a broadcast enterprise on behalf of any Member or group of Members would further the
Corporation’s general purposes, the Corporation may initiate or join such actions. The Corporation may provide the legal services necessary and the expert witness services
reasonably appropriate for prosecution of an action.
(b) Any Member who receives money due to a settlement or judgment attained with assistance in litigation provided by the Corporation as described in subsection (a) of
this Section shall reimburse the Corporation for its expenses in prosecution of the action.
Section 10. Representation of Members in Lawsuits.
The Corporation shall be deemed to have an interest sufficient to maintain, intervene as of right in, or otherwise participate in any civil action for the review or enforcement
of any decision made by the Commission, or any other regulatory or public body, which the Corporation determines may affect the interests of broadcast consumers.
Comment: The provision reads “affect” rather than “adversely affect” because Audience Network might wish to oppose a Commission decision or to express support for a
decision which is being challenged by another party. This grant of standing to Audience Network is within the mainstream of recent judicial decisions regarding standing to
seek review of administrative actions in the communications law arena.
Section 11. Access.
(a) Modification of Existing Licenses; Frequency-sharing.
The Commission shall grant to the Corporation a license for broadcast operation for one hour per day on each existing commercial broadcast AM and FM radio frequency
and each existing commercial VHF and UHF television frequency. For television the Corporation shall be licensed to operate during the following time periods: 10:00 to
11:00 pm Eastern and Pacific Time, and 9:00-10:00 pm Central and Mountain Time. For radio broadcasts the Corporation shall be licensed by the Commission to operate
during one hour of drive time which cannot be less than thirty minutes during any drive time period and the hour shall be scheduled during drive time for radio licensees as
defined by Commission regulations. (8) Such modifications of existing licenses shall be exempt from the procedural requirements of 47 U.S.C. S316. (9)
Comment: Audience Network would be established under a frequency-sharing arrangement whereby the FCC would grant two separate licenses for the same frequency a
twenty-three (23) hour license to the commercial broadcaster and a distinct one (1) hour license to Audience Network. The frequency-sharing approach has legal precedent
in current broadcast laws and regulations.
The FCC authorized voluntary frequency-sharing by separate broadcast licenses in 47 C.F.R. S73.1720. (10)
The general idea of frequency sharing was endorsed by the
Supreme Court in 1969 dictum:
Rather than confer frequency monopolies on a relatively small number of licensees, . . the Government could surely have decreed that each frequency should be shared
among all or some of those who wish to use it, each being assigned a portion of the broadcast day and the broadcast week. (11)
Particular frequency-sharing schemes have been upheld by the courts. (12) The frequency-sharing condition applies only to commercial broadcasting stations, and not to non-commercial public or educational broadcasters; Audience Network should not be open to any charges of government involvement, even by such indirect means as bargaining
for rescheduling or relinquishing Audience Network time with a licensee who is even partially state-funded. Furthermore, non-commercial stations are likely to already be
more responsive to the needs of a diverse audience. The frequency-sharing provision is simultaneously applied to all new and existing licenses to prevent competitive
advantages or disadvantages from accruing to any licensee.
(b) New Licenses; Less Than Full-Time Stations.
When granting any new full-time license pursuant to 47 U.S.C. S307, for the operation of any commercial AM or FM radio or commercial VHF or UHF television
broadcasting station, the Commission shall require operation for all but one hour per day. That hour shall be granted under license to the Corporation pursuant to subsection
(a) of this Section. For commercial radio and television stations subject to this Section authorized to operate less than full-time, the Corporation shall be licensed by the
Commission during drive time for radio and prime time for television, as defined in this Section, in equitable proportion to the air time provided by full-time stations under
(c) Applicable Laws and Regulations.
(1)Licenses granted pursuant to this Act shall be held by Audience Network for so long as Audience Network shall exist. Upon voluntary or involuntary dissolution of the
Corporation, the Corporation’s licenses shall be allocated pursuant to 47 U.S.C. S307(a) and (b). Audience Network licenses shall be exempt from the licensing requirements
pf 47 U.S.C. S307(d) and (e). Audience Network shall be considered a broadcast licensee subject to all other relevant provisions of the Communications Act.
(2) For purposes of regulation by the Commission Audience Network licenses granted pursuant to this Act shall be considered non-commercial.
Comment: Because Audience Network is designed to operate in the public interest, it shall be exempt from license renewal procedure and hold licenses in perpetuity. Should
the Corporation ever dissolve, the licenses would revert to the control of the FCC for allocation in the public interest. Provisions of the Communications Act relevant to the
public interest operation of stations, including Sections 47 U.S.C. 312(a)(7) and 315 regarding political candidate access, shall apply to Audience Network air time. In
addition, if the Fairness Doctrine should ever be reinstituted, it too would be applicable to Audience Network.
No broadcast enterprises shall have discretionary power over or bear responsibility for material broadcast during the Corporation’s time. The Corporation must clearly
identify itself and its broadcasts.
Comment: Audience Network and the broadcast licensee are independent licensees share the same frequency. The licensee may not censor any of the material broadcast
during Audience Network’s time, or interfere with Audience Network’s use of its assigned frequencies. Accordingly, the licensee bears no responsibility for material broadcast
during the Corporation’s time that is found to be defamatory (13)
or obscene. (14) Audience Network would be liable for any defamatory statements made during periods when
it is broadcasting. However, because of the science requirement in the federal statute which covers obscenity, indecent and profane language, Audience Network will be
liable only for those broadcasts over which it can assert control. If Audience Network’s air time is used for direct unedited access by Members or others, those speakers alone
will be liable for their statements.
The disclaimer of the licensee’s responsibility for broadcasts made during Audience Network’s time also means that the use of the Corporation’s time would not affect the
application of pre-existing state or federal laws, or pre-existing agency rules or regulations, to existing or future 23 hour licensees. (15)
The identification requirement is designed to eliminate the possibility of any confusion by listeners or viewers as to who is broadcasting. Although the burden of
identification is placed upon the Audience Network, the broadcast licensee would, of course, be free to use its own time if it wishes to disclaim any association with
Audience Network or to endorse or deny endorsement of any views expressed during Audience Network time. The Commission could impose upon Audience Network
identification rules similar to the station identification requirements imposed upon broadcast licensees. (16) For radio, an identifying statement could be required at the
beginning and end of each Audience Network segment, to be periodically repeated during long broadcasts; for television, the Commission might additionally require that a
logo or special identifying mark appear on the screen periodically during Audience Network broadcasts.
(e) Access to broadcast facilities.
The Commission shall require all broadcast enterprises subject to this Chapter to provide reasonable access to broadcast transmission facilities to representatives of the
Corporation for the use of Corporation air time according to the provisions of this Act. The Commission shall permit broadcast enterprises to charge the actual costs
incurred for use of the transmission facilities. The Commission shall establish the proper sanctions for failure to provide such access.
Comment: Provision of sanctions is similar to 47 U.S.C. S312(a)(7) which authorizes the Commission to revoke any station license for willful or repeated failure to provide
reasonable access to candidates for federal office. The Commission will establish appropriate sanctions for failure of Audience Network and licensees to cooperate in
fulfilling this requirement. Such sanctions might include license revocation or monetary penalties for the licensee, or affirmative orders or broadcast time penalties for either
Audience Network or the commercial licensee. The Commission shall determine what amount of access to transmission facilities is “reasonable” to enable Audience Network
to use its time. The licensee may charge Audience Network for its use of broadcast transmission facilities only the actual costs incurred, but Audience Network will remain
liable for any damage to station property (or other torts for which it is responsible) under applicable state laws.
This provision includes access to national network facilities which is reasonably necessary for Audience Network to use the national portion of its television air time. (17) It
contemplates access to transmission facilities only and not production facilities, although licensees and Audience Network would remain free to independently negotiate
additional sharing of other facilities on whatever terms both parties find agreeable. Audience Network might provide technical assistance and free or low cost production
facilities for its Members, particularly equipment for preparing pre-recorded radio messages for broadcast to assist local access; the goal of Audience Network will be to
remove all economic barriers to broadcast speech.
(f) Use of Radio Time by Audience Network.
(1) The Corporation shall set aside at least half of its hours per week of radio air time to each local chapter for access by its members. Where the supply of local access time
exceeds the demand for local access time, the excess local access time shall revert to the use of the Corporation.
Comment: The purpose of local access time is to provide a forum for the local membership to air programs which fit their particular needs and interests. Radio access is
particularly suited for local access because radio programing is less expensive than television programming.
(2) Local access time will be managed by the local chapter according to the guidelines established by Delegates pursuant to Section 19(d).
(g) Use of Television Time by Audience Network.
(1) Audience Network television air time shall be allocated sixty (60) percent to the Corporation for national programming and forty (40) percent to the local chapters for
local use. Where the supply of local air time exceeds the demand for local air time, the excess local air time shall revert to the use of the Corporation.
(2) Local access time will be managed by the local chapter according to the guidelines established by Delegates pursuant to Section 19(d).
Comment: The sixty/forty (60/40) division of television air time is designed to provide adequate time for the Corporation nationally to educate the public about broadcast
issues and Audience Network and to air programs dealing with national concerns, as well as to allow local communities the access that is necessary to fulfill local
programming needs and preferences.
It is important that Audience Network designate some time for national use because one of the goals of creating a national corporation is to establish a responsive public
entity with a power of speech comparable to that of the private commercial networks. This national forum can be used to discuss issues of national importance which are
not being accurately or completely covered by the commercial networks, and it is one of the ways that any independent message can reach a national audience.
It is also important to provide a local forum for issues which affect communities. Local issues are vital to communities and local programming and access schemes provide
more opportunities for direct participation of citizens in local issues.
(3) Each Delegate shall survey his or her constituency at least four times per year to ascertain Member preferences for the use of Audience Network time at both the
national and local levels. Delegates shall use the written and/or video survey provided by the Corporation to ascertain member’s national programming preferences.
Comment: Frequent polling of viewer preferences will alleviate the persistent problem of viewer passivity. This provision encourages an affirmative response from the
viewer by giving viewers the opportunity to specifically express what they want to see and hear. This feature distinguishes the Audience Network technique from the
traditional ratings approach. Both a written and video survey will be created by the first elected Board and successive Boards. The resources of the Corporation are
necessary to produce surveys that will most effectively ascertain Member preferences. The Boards will also create written and video surveys for local chapters to use or
modify to create their own surveys. Written surveys may be made available in public libraries or mailed directly to members. The video surveys may be open-ended
questions broadcast during Audience Network air time encouraging members to respond by telephone or mail.
Viewer options in written or video surveys might include:
— Broadcasts by Audience Network in order to inform the public about the activities of the organization, procedures for becoming a member, broadcast issues, upcoming
proceedings relevant to broadcast consumers such as license renewals, or other public service announcements; — Broadcasts by individuals or non-profit organizations
(with procedures for the allocation of time for local broadcasts being devised by the Delegate and the local chapter organization and for national broadcasts by the Board);
— Diverse programming which the Corporation has produced or obtained, such as pilots or artistic performances; and
— A “write-in” or “other” provision to encourage viewers to submit their own imaginative ideas.
(4) The Board shall develop and institute procedures for the implementation of viewer preferences for use by Audience Network’s national television broadcast time based
on the results of the surveys required by Section 11(g)(3).
(5) Each Delegate, with the assistance of the local chapter, shall develop and institute procedures for the implementation of viewer preferences for use of Audience
Network’s local television broadcast time based on the results of the surveys required by Section 11(g)(3).
Comment: The procedures of Section 11(g)(4) and (5) could be designed to protect the preferences of minority blocks of viewers. For instance, they might provide that
any option which receives the support of at least 20 percent of those surveyed will receive at least 20 percent of the relative air time.
(h) Commission Rules.
The Commission shall prepare a brief summary of those laws, rules and regulations which are applicable to membership use of local television and radio access broadcast air
time. This summary shall be made available to anyone upon request.
Comment: This summary should provide a clear explanation of relevant rules regarding issues such as defamation and obscenity for which individuals or local chapter
organizations using local access time may be liable.
Section 12. Funding the Corporation.
(a) Audience Network shall be funded by voluntary individual contributions, involving no compulsory burden whatsoever on the taxpayers of the United States.
Comment: Funding the Corporation by voluntary contributions serves two purposes. First, it preserves the independence of Audience Network from Congress, the
Commission and other public bodies. Second, it requires individuals who wish to be Members of the Corporation to perform an affirmative act; perhaps the first step
toward a more knowledgeable, effective and participatory class of broadcast consumers. Additional funds may be forthcoming from the sale of a limited amount of Audience
Network air time to stations, pursuant to Section 7(c)(8).
(b) The Corporation shall, during each of its continuous broadcasts of fifteen (15) minutes or more, make statements concerning the means by which an individual may
become an Audience Network member. The statement shall indicate that a person sixteen years of age or older can become a member of the Corporation by contributing $10
or by receiving a fee waiver under the rules set out by the Interim Board as required by Section 15(b)(6).
Comment: See comment Section 5(b), supra.
(c) An individual may contribute to the Corporation by sending a payment to any office of the Corporation.
Comment: The $10.00 membership fee is for each individual as opposed to families or other groups.
Section 13. Prohibited Acts.
(a) No person may interfere or threaten to interfere with or cause interference with the broadcast service of or penalize or threaten to penalize or cause to be penalized any
person who contributes to the Corporation or participates in any of its activities, in retaliation for such contribution or participation.
(b) No person may prevent, interfere with, or hinder the activities described in this Act.
(c) No person shall use any list of Members to the Corporation, or any part of such list, for purposes other than the conduct of business of the Corporation as prescribed in
this Act. No person shall disclose any such list or part thereof to any other individual who the person has reason to believe does not intend to use it for the lawful purposes
described in this subsection.
(d) Any person who violates subsections (a), (b) or (c) of this Section may not be fined more than $50,000. Each such violation shall constitute a separate and continuing
violation of this chapter.
Comment: This provision is designed to protect the privacy of Audience Network members. Access to membership lists would be available to Audience Network members
who are running for Delegate or Director, since they would be essential to a petition campaign. Such Members, however, would be prohibited from disclosing the lists to
those not directly involved in official business of Audience Network.
Section 14. Board.
The affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by a Board of Directors as follows:
(a) Election and term of office.
(1) Term of Office.
Twenty-one Directors shall be elected pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 20. A Director shall represent the interests of individual broadcast consumers in the
United States. A Director shall have one vote on the Board. Elected Directors shall be installed by the President of the outgoing Board. The term of office of a Director
shall be three years, with the exception of Interim Directors as provided in Section 6(a) of this Act. The term of office of the Interim Directors selected pursuant to Section
6(a) shall end when the first elected Directors are installed in office. No Director shall serve for more than two consecutive terms.
Comment: The prohibition against consecutive terms is a safeguard against the concentration of personal power within the organization. It will also ensure a continual
turnover of Audience Network leadership thereby combating tendencies toward bureaucratic stagnation.
(2) Staggering of Terms.
Six of the Directors first elected to the Board shall serve for a one year term, seven of such Directors shall serve for a two year term, and eight of such Directors shall serve a
full three year term. The Directors shall draw lots upon their installation in office to determine the length of their terms.
Directors shall meet the qualifications for Candidates set forth in Section 20 (b) of this Act.
(c) Meetings of the Board.
(1) The Board shall hold regular meetings at least once every four months on such dates and at such places as it may determine. Special meetings may be called by the
President or by a majority of the Board upon at least ten (10)days’ advance written notice. A majority of the Directors shall constitute a quorum. A majority vote of the
Directors present shall determine any question. If the vote is a tie vote, the question shall fail.
(2) All meetings of the Board shall be open to the public. Complete minutes of the meetings shall be kept and distributed to all depository libraries in the United States.
A Director may not receive any compensation for his or her services but shall be reimbursed for wages actually lost in an amount not to exceed $160 per day and for
necessary expenses, including travel expenses incurred in the discharge of duties. The Board shall establish standard allowances for mileage, room and meals and the
purposes for which such allowances may be made and shall determine the reasonableness and necessity for such reimbursements. The Board shall include the schedule of
such standard allowances in the annual report under Section 15(a)(4)(D).
Comment: This provision precludes the employment by Audience Network of its Directors to perform services on a paid basis.
Directors and employees eligible to disburse funds shall be bonded. The cost of such bonds shall be paid by the Corporation.
(f) Recall and Special Elections.
(1) Members may file a petition for recall of a Director no sooner than six (6) months after his or her election and not less than six (6) months prior to the end of the
Director’s term of office. To be valid, the petition shall have the valid signatures of at least forty (40) percent of the Delegates or forty (40) percent of the members from the
District from which such Director was elected, or ten (10) percent of the Corporation’s total membership. The signatures may not have a date which is less than sixty (60)
days before the date of filing.
(2) Upon receipt of a valid petition under subsection (f)(1) of this section, the President shall declare the position of the Director named on the petition as vacant and call a
special meeting of the Delegates, to be held not more than three months after his or her receipt of the petition, for the purpose of electing a Director to serve out the term of
the recalled Director. An election following recall shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 20 with respect to election of Directors.
(3) A Director subject to recall may become a candidate in an election under this Section. A Director recalled shall continue to serve until the Board certifies a candidate
elected under Section 20.
Comment: The prohibition against filing a petition to recall a Director within six months of his or her election is intended to give each newly elected Director a certain
period of time within which to establish a review able performance record.
When a Director dies, resigns, is disqualified, or otherwise vacates his or her office, except as provided in subsection (f)(3) of this Section, the Board shall select within three
months a successor from among the Delegates for the remainder of the Director’s term of office. Any Director may nominate any qualified Delegate as a successor from
among those nominated. The nominee with the most votes shall be declared elected. The successor shall be installed in office by the President of the Board.
Section 15. Duties; Special Duties of Directors.
(a) General Duties.
The Board shall have the following duties:
(1) To establish the policy of the Corporation regarding appearances before regulatory, legislative and other public bodies, and regarding other activities which the
Corporation has the authority to perform under this chapter.
(2) To employ an Executive Director under Section 17 who shall have the following powers and duties, subject at all times to the direction and supervision of the Board:
(A) To implement the policy established by the Board in subsection (a)(1) of this Section;
(B) To employ and discharge employees of the Corporation;
(C) To supervise the offices, the facilities, and the work of the employees of the Corporation;
(D) To have custody of and to maintain the books, records, and membership rolls of the Corporation, in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
(E) To prepare and submit to the Board annual and quarterly statements of the financial and substantive operations of the Corporation, and financial estimates for the future
operations of the Corporation;
(F) To attend and participate in meetings of the Board as a non-voting Director; (G) To file annually with the Board a current financial statement which includes the
information required under Section 20(d); and,
(H) To exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as the Board delegates to him or her.
Comment: The terms of the Executive Director’s employment and the allocation of policy-making responsibilities between the Executive Director and the Board will be
established by the first elected Board. Although the Executive Director may require a great deal of flexibility in order to effectively exercise his or her power and perform his
or her duties, a relatively activist Board can simultaneously oversee such activities thereby preserving strict accountability to the members of the Corporation.
(3) To hold an annual meeting of the Delegates on a date and at a place in the United States to be determined by the Board under Section 18(b)(1).
(4) To assure preparation of:
(A) Up-to-date membership rolls, and to keep them in confidence to the extent required by the provisions of Section 13(c);
(B) Quarterly statements of the financial and substantive operations of the Corporation, and to make copies of such statements available to the public;
(C) An audit of the Corporation’s books by a certified public accountant at least once each fiscal year, and to make the audit available to the general public;
(D) An annual report of the Corporation’s financial and substantive operations as soon as practicable after the close of the Corporation’s fiscal year, and to mail the report to
each depository library in the United States;
(E) An annual report on the past and projected activities and policies of the Corporation. The Board shall present the report to the Delegates at the annual meeting.
(5) To keep minutes, books and records which shall reflect all the acts and transactions of the Board and which shall be open to examination by any Member during regular
(6) To make all reports, studies, data pertaining to the finances of the Corporation, and other information compiled by the Corporation available for public inspection during
regular business hours;
(7) To consult with the Delegates pursuant to Section 19(e) on matters involving basic changes in the policies or operations of the Corporation;
(8) To consider for approval each Delegate’s proposed plan for the organization of local and regional chapters pursuant to Section 19(d).
(9) To establish and implement a policy on consumer education concerning broadcast enterprise operations and regulations by any of the following methods, without
limitation because of enumeration:
(A) Presentation of seminars and outreach sessions open to the public;
(B) Pren broadcast enterprise operation and regulation;
(10) To publicize the activities of the Corporation under Section 7(a)(2).
(11) To carry out all other duties and responsibilities imposed upon the Corporation and the Board under this chapter.
(b) Special Duties of the Interim Directors.
The Interim Directors appointed pursuant to Section 6(a) of this Act, shall have the following duties:
(1) Inform the public, by means provided for in Sections 7, 11, 12 and elsewhere in this Act, of the existence, nature and purposes of the Corporation, and shall encourage
individuals to participate in the Corporation’s activities and to contribute to its operating fund;
(2) Elect officers as provided in Section 20;
(3) Employ such staff as that are deemed necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act;
(4) Make all necessary preparations for the first election of Delegates, oversee election campaigns and tally votes, as provided in Section 20;
(5) Create written and video program surveys to adequately ascertain member preferences for both national and local programming; and
(6) Establish and implement guidelines regarding the waiver of the membership fee for low-income citizens.
(7) Designate a transition period prior to the full operation of Audience Network stations. The transition period shall commence on the effective date of this Act and shall
end no earlier than twelve months after the installation of the first elected Delegates and Board of Directors pursuant to Section 20. During the transition period, the
Corporation shall use its air time only to inform the public about Audience Network operations and activities pursuant to Section 7(a). The Corporation shall exchange or
sell the remaining air time pursuant to Section 7(c)(8).
(8) Make quarterly reports to Congress on Interim Board activities.
Comment: Specification of the duties of the appointed Directors is necessary because: these Directors will not have been subject to the election process, designed to ensure
that Directors are accountable to broadcast consumers; and it is particularly essential that the Interim Directors wholeheartedly carry out the initial publicizing of Audience
Network as required in this Act.
Section 16. Director Statement of Financial Interest.
Every Director shall file annually with the Board a current financial statement which includes the information required under Section 20(d).
Comment: This provision is to ensure full and continuing disclosure so that the membership may at all times be aware of potential conflicts of interest.
Section 17. Executive Director Qualifications.
(a) The Executive Director hired by the Board under Section 15 (a)(2) shall have the same qualifications as a Director under Section 14(b), except that the Executive
Director need not be a Member of the Corporation. The Executive Director may not be a Candidate for, or a Director, or a Candidate for, or a Delegate, while serving as
Executive Director. The Executive Director may be removed from office at any time by 2/3 vote of the Officers or by a majority vote of all Directors.
(b) To hire the Executive Director under Section 15(a)(2), the Board shall:
(1) Notify the public at large of a vacancy for the position of Executive Director of the Corporation and the minimum qualifications necessary to perform the job. The
notice shall be distributed at least 30 days prior to any deadline set for applications for the position.
(2) Notify all applicants for the position of Executive Director of the Corporation who are not hired under this Section of the name of the person hired and the person’s
qualifications for the position.
(3) Adhere to any applicable state or federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment.
(c) The Board shall require all applicants for the position of Executive Director to file a financial statement which includes the information required under Section 20 (d).
The Board shall require the Executive Director to file a current statement annually.
Section 18. Delegates.
(a) Election and Term of Office.
One Delegate shall be elected from each District. A Delegate shall represent the interests of the broadcast consumers of his or her District and of the state within which the
District is located. The term of office of Delegates shall be three years. No Delegate shall serve more than two consecutive terms.
Comment: Allowing Delegates to serve two consecutive terms enables a Delegate with the support of his or her constituency to implement more long range plans than
limitation to one term might allow. However, the prohibition against more than two consecutive terms is a safeguard against concentration of personal power and
(b) Annual Meetings.
(1) An annual meeting of Delegates shall be held in the month of January on a date and at a place within the United States to be determined by the Board at least six months
in advance of the meeting;
(2) All Delegates shall be eligible to attend, participate in, and vote in the annual meeting of Delegates. Two-thirds of the Delegates shall constitute a quorum. Each
Delegate shall have one vote at such meetings.
(3) Items may be placed on the meeting’s agenda by the following methods:
(A) By request of any Director or Delegate not less than five days and not more than four months in advance of the date of such meeting; or
(B) By petition containing the valid signatures or at least twenty (20) percent of the Members in any District or at least one (one) percent of the total membership. Such
petition must be filed with the Board not less than five days and not more than four months in advance of the date of such meeting.
(4) The form of the annual meeting of Delegates shall be as provided in the laws of the District of Columbia regarding non-profit corporations; and
(5) The annual meeting of Delegates shall be open to the public. Members shall be given a reasonable opportunity at such meetings to present the comments, criticisms and
suggestions concerning the Corporation, but Members may not vote at such meetings.
(6) Complete minutes of the annual meetings shall be kept and distributed to all depository libraries in the United States.
(c) Special Meetings.
(1) The Directors may hold special meetings of Delegates to consult with Delegates on matters concerning the Corporation’s policies, activities and operations pursuant to
Section 15 and Section 19. It shall set a time and place for the meeting and shall inform the Delegates of such time and place not less than fourteen days and not more than
sixty days in advance of the date of such meeting;
(2) The Directors shall be required to call a special meeting when they receive a petition containing the valid signatures of over twenty (20) percent of the Delegates or at
least one percent of the Members or when the majority of Delegates vote for such a meeting. The meeting shall be held not more than thirty days after the filing of such
petition or the date of such vote. The Board shall notify the Delegates of the time and place of such meeting;
(3) The conduct of special meetings shall be governed by the provisions of subsection (b) of this Section.
(4) Complete minutes of the special meetings shall be kept and distributed to all depository libraries in the United States.
(d) Recalls and Vacancies.
Upon receipt by the President of a petition to recall any Delegate with the valid signatures of at least forty percent of the members from such Delegate’s District, the President
shall declare the position of the Delegate named on the petition vacant and call an election for the District to be held within three months but not less than two months after
his or her receipt of the petition, for the purpose of electing a Delegate to serve out the term of the recalled Delegate; provided, that no petition to recall a Delegate may be
filed within six months of his or her election or six months before his or her term is to expire. An election following recall shall be conducted in accordance with the
provisions of Section 20 with respect to election of Delegates. A Delegate may become a candidate in an election following his or her own recall. The Delegate recalled shall
continue to serve until the installment in office of his or her successor.
Comment: The month delay in calling the election is to allow Candidates for the recalled Delegate’s position time to obtain signatures for nomination and to conduct the
campaign as provided in Section 20. A newly elected Delegate is given six (6) months “immunity” from recall to establish a review able performance record.
When a Delegate dies, resigns, is disqualified, or otherwise vacates his or her office, except as provided in subsection (e) of this Section, the Board shall hold, within three
months but not less than two months form the date on which such vacancy was created, an election for the Delegate’s District for the purpose of electing a successor for the
remainder of the Delegate’s term of office. The election shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 20 with respect to election of Delegates. The
successor shall be installed by the President of the Board.
A Delegate may not receive any compensation for his or her services but shall be reimbursed for wages actually lost up to $160 per day and for necessary expenses, including
travel expenses incurred in the discharge of duties. The Board shall establish standard allowances for mileage, room and meals and the purposes for which such allowances
may be made and shall determine the reasonableness and necessity for such reimbursements. The Board shall include the schedule of such standard allowances in the annual
report under Section 15(a)(4)(D).
Section 19. Duties of Delegates.
The Delegates shall have the following duties:
(a) To publicize the activities of the Corporation in their Districts;
(b) To encourage Members in their Districts to participate in the Corporation’s programs and activities;
(c) To act as a liaison between the Board and Members in their Districts: to transmit to the Board comments, writings and suggestions concerning the Corporation from
Members in their Districts and to inform such Members of the Board’s response to their statements;
(d) To develop plans or changes in existing plans for organization of local and regional chapters;
(e) To vote at the annual meeting of Delegates and at special meetings of Delegates called by the Board on matters involving changes in basic policies or operations of the
Corporation. A majority vote of the Delegates shall be necessary to institute such changes;
(f) To vote on other items submitted to Delegates by the Board at annual and special meetings. A majority vote of the Delegates shall indicate approval by the Delegates of
such items; and,
(g) To carry out all other duties and exercise all other powers accorded to Delegates under this Act.
Section 20. Election of Delegates and Directors.
(a) Time of Elections.
(1) When the membership of the Corporation has reached 250,000 persons and the Corporation has received $2,500,000 in contributions, the Interim Directors shall
promptly fix a date for the first election of Delegates and Directors. The election shall be held not less than four months and not more than six months after the membership
and contributions have both reached the prescribed levels;
(2) Subsequent elections of Delegates and Directors shall be held at approximately three year intervals after the first election. The dates of such elections shall be fixed not
less than four months in advance by the Board.
Comment: This provision is designed to allow Audience Network to organize and commence its activities and to build up a broad-based membership before its first election.
Audience Network should initially accumulate sufficient funds to pay for the election and begin its programming and representation activities.
Scheduling the election in this way will give Candidates an adequate period to obtain the necessary signatures for nomination and to conduct the campaign provided in this
(b) Qualifications of Candidates.
To be eligible for election as a Delegate or Director, a Candidate must:
(1) Be residents of the United States who are Members of the Corporation. No official or employee of the Commission or officer, employee, consultant, attorney,
accountant, real estate agent, shareholder, or bondholder of any broadcast enterprise or any establishment that manufactures, distributes, sells, leases, or services broadcast
equipment, or any member of the immediate family of any such individual shall be eligible to become a Delegate or Director.
(2) Be a resident of the District which he or she seeks to represent;
(3) Have his or her nomination certified by the Board pursuant to subsection (c) of this Section;
(4) Submit to the Board a statement of financial interests in accordance with subsection (d) of this Section and a statement of personal background and positions in
accordance with subsection (e) of this Section;
(5) Make the affirmation prescribed in subsection (f)(4) of this Section.
(c) Nomination of Candidates.
(1) A Candidate for election as a Delegate or Director shall submit to the Board, not later than sixty days prior to the election, a petition for nomination, signed by at least
one (1) percent of the members of his or her District and an affirmation, subject to penalty of disqualification, that all signatures are valid.
Comment: The one (1) percent requirement is intended to limit the field to Candidates who are dedicated enough to engage in what could be a difficult petition campaign and
to ensure that the field of Candidates does not become so large as to enable election of a Candidate with only a small percentage of the vote. Should the one (1) percent
requirement impose overly burdensome obstacles to candidacy, the Board could reduce the required percentage.
(2) The Board, upon receipt of the petition and affirmation, shall certify the nomination of the Candidate.
(d) Statement of financial interests.
(1) A Candidate for election as a Delegate or Director shall submit to the Board, not later than sixty (60) days prior to the election, a statement of financial interests upon a
form approved by the Board.
(2) The statement of financial interests shall include the following information:
(A) The occupation, employer and position at place of employment of the Candidate and of his or her immediate family members;
(B) A description of all significant personal and professional transactions by the Candidate and by his or her immediate family members with any broadcast enterprise or any
establishment that manufactures, distributes, sells, leases, or services broadcast equipment;
(C) A list of all corporate and organizational directorships or other offices, and of all fiduciary positions held in the past three years by the Candidate and by his or her
immediate family members; and
(D) An affirmation, subject to the penalty of disqualification from election, that the information contained in the statement of financial interests is true and complete.
Comment: The purpose of requiring disclosure of certain personal financial information is to reveal to the membership connections to the broadcast industry which,
although insufficient to bar a person from candidacy under Section 20 (b), voters might wish to consider when making their selection.
(e) Statement of personal background and positions.
A Candidate for election as a Delegate or Director must submit to the Board, not later than sixty (60) days prior to the election, a two (2) page statement concerning his or
her personal background and positions on issues relating to broadcasting or the operations of the Corporation. The statement shall contain an affirmation, subject to penalty
of disqualification from election, that the Candidate meets the qualifications prescribed for Delegates in Section 20 (b) or the qualifications prescribed for Directors in Section
14(b) and is a resident of the District which he or she seeks to represent.
Comment: The required statement of personal background and positions is intended to give Candidates an opportunity to explain their positions on broadcasting issues and
Audience Network’s organizational questions. It will allow members to make informed choices among the Candidates and will facilitate election of candidates most likely to
be responsive to the views of their constituencies.
(f) Campaign financing.
(1) Candidates for Delegate or Director may only accept campaign contributions from Audience Network Members.
(2) Each Candidate may accept no more than $100.00 in campaign contributions, as defined in Section 4(e) of this Act, from any person from one year before the date of an
election through the date of the election.
(3) Campaign expenditures by Candidate shall be limited to $50.00 per Member per District but may not exceed $10,000 in any election cycle.
(4) Each Candidate shall keep complete records of all contributions to his or her campaign of five dollars or more made from one year before the date of an election through
the date of the election.
(5) Each Candidate shall keep complete records of his or her campaign expenditures, and shall make such records available for inspection during normal business hours to
any member or employee of the Corporation.
(6) Each Candidate, within twenty-one days after the election, shall submit an accurate statement of his or her campaign expenditures and contributions to the Board of
Directors, and shall affirm to the Board, subject to penalty of disqualification, that he or she has fully complied with the requirements of subsection (f) of this Section.
Comment: The restrictions on campaign contributions are designed to preclude candidates with access to substantial financial resources from overwhelming those without
such resources. The Corporation can adopt such limitations since its internal self-regulation will not constitute state action. (18)
(g) Election procedures.
(1) The Board shall send or have sent by mail to each member, not sooner that twenty-one (21) and not later than fourteen (14) days before the date fixed for the election:
(A) An official ballot listing all Candidates for Delegate and/or Director from the member’s District whose nominations the Board has certified and who have complied with
the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) of this Section;
(B) Each Candidate’s statement of financial interests; and
(C) Each Candidate’s statement of personal background and positions.
(2) Each Member may cast a vote in the election by returning his or her official ballot, properly marked, to the head office of the Corporation by 8 P.M. of the date fixed for
(3) Voting shall be by secret ballot.
(4) The Board shall tally votes with all reasonable speed and shall inform the membership promptly of the names of the Candidates elected.
(5) In each District, the Candidate for Delegate with the most votes shall be declared elected. The 21 Candidates with the most votes for Director shall be declared elected.
Comment: A plurality-vote provision was selected because of the expense and loss of popular interest associated with run-offs which would be required by a provision for
election by majority vote.
(h) Installation of elected candidates.
The President of the Board shall install in office within thirty days after the election all elected Candidates who meet the qualifications prescribed in subsections (b) and (f) of
(i) Election rules.
The Board may prescribe rules for the conduct of elections and election campaigns not inconsistent with this Act.
Section 21. Membership Lists.
(a) List Access.
Access to membership lists used for the conduct of Corporation business shall be provided to Members upon:
(1) Receipt by the appropriate Corporation official the materials to be sent to the membership, provided:
(2) The materials meet the Corporation’s size and weight requirements;
(3) The Member requesting access pay for mailing and package costs incurred by the Corporation.
(b) Membership Communications.
Corporation business pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall include, but shall not be limited to:
(1) Notice of or petitions for recall of Delegates or Directors;
(2) Notice of or petitions for placing an item on a Delegate or Director meeting agenda;
(3) Notice of or petitions for placing an issue on a ballot for membership vote;
(4) Communication with Members by Candidates for Delegate or Director positions prior to an election; or
(5) Communication with the membership by a Member seeking to qualify as a Candidate for Delegate or Director.
Section 22. Officers.
(a) Election of Officers.
At the first regular meeting of the first elected Board at which a quorum is present subsequent to the installation of new Directors following each annual election, the Board
shall elect by majority vote of Directors present and voting and from among the Directors a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The Board shall also
have the power to elect a Comptroller and such other officers as it deems necessary.
(b) Term of office and Removal from office.
(1) Officers shall be installed by the President immediately upon their election. The term of office for Officers shall be one year; provided that an Officer may resign, or may
be removed at any time by a majority vote of the Directors in office. After an Officer’s term of office has expired, the Officer shall hold office until their successors are
chosen and qualified.
(2) When an Officer dies, resigns, is removed, or otherwise vacates his or her office, the Board shall elect a successor to serve out such Officer’s term of office.
(c) Duties and powers of Officers.
The President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and such other Officers as may be authorized by the Board of Directors may enter into and execute on behalf of the
Corporation contracts, leases, debt obligations and all other forms of agreements or instruments, whether under seal or otherwise, permitted by law, the Articles of
Incorporation and the Bylaws; except where such documents are required by law to be otherwise signed and executed, or where the signing and execution thereof shall be
exclusively delegated to some other Officer or agent of the Corporation.
The duties and powers of the Officers of the Corporation shall be as provided in the Articles of Incorporation and in the Bylaws, (except to the extent they are inconsistent
with the Act) and shall be those customarily exercised by Corporation Officers holding such offices.
(1) The President.
The President shall be the chief operating Officer of the Corporation and, subject to the control of the Board, shall perform all duties customary to that office and shall
supervise and control all of the affairs of the Corporation in accordance with any policies and directives approved by the Board. The President shall have the power to
change the registered agent and registered office of the Corporation.
(2) The Vice-President.
The Vice-President shall assist the President of the Corporation and, subject to the control of the Board, shall perform all duties customary to that office and shall assist in the
supervision and control of all of the affairs of the Corporation in accordance with any policies and directives approved by the President.
(3) The Secretary.
The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping an accurate record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Board of Directors, and such other actions of the Corporation as
the Board shall direct. He or she shall give or cause to be given all notices in accordance with this Act or the Bylaws or as required by law, and, in general, perform all duties
customary to the office of secretary. The Secretary shall have custody of the corporate seal of the Corporation and he or she, or some designated assistant, shall have the
authority to affix the same to any instrument requiring it and, when so affixed, it may be attested by his or her signature or by the signature of such Assistant Secretary. The
Board may give authority to any Officer to affix the seal of the Corporation and to attest the affixing by his or her signature.
(4) The Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall perform all duties customary to that office, shall have the custody of and be responsible for all corporate funds and securities and shall keep full and
accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements in the books of the Corporation. He or she shall deposit or cause to be deposited all monies or other valuable effects in the
name of the Corporation in such depositories as shall be selected by the Board.
The Treasurer shall disburse the funds of the Corporation as may be ordered by the Board, or as ordered by a person authorized by the Board, taking proper vouchers for
such disbursements, and shall render an account of all his or her transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Corporation to the President and the Board at
its regular meetings or when the Board so requires.
Section 23. Ballot Issues.
(a) Issues may be placed on a ballot for vote by the general membership, provided:
(1) A majority of the Board vote to place an issue before the membership for vote; or
(2) A petition, containing the valid signatures of at least twenty percent of the Members in any District or at least one percent of the total membership, requesting an issue
be placed on a ballot is received by the Board; or,
(3) A majority of the Delegates vote to place an issue before the membership for a vote.
(b) Upon certification of the required vote of the Directors or Delegates or upon receipt of the required petition, the President shall place the issue on a special ballot and
schedule a date for a vote on the issue to be held within two months after receipt of the certification or petition.
(1) The Board shall send or have sent by mail to each Member, not later than fourteen (14) days after receipt of a petition or certification pursuant to this Section, an official
ballot containing the issue for membership vote.
(2) Each Member may cast a vote regarding the ballot issue by returning the ballot, properly marked, to the head office of the Corporation by 8 P.M. of the date fixed for the
balloting pursuant to subsection (b) of this Section.
(3) Voting shall be by secret ballot.
(4) The Board shall tally votes with all reasonable speed and shall inform the membership and Delegates promptly of the outcome of the vote.
Section 24. Corrupt Practices and Conflicts of Interest.
(a) Neither the Corporation nor its Directors, Delegates, employees, or agents shall offer anything of monetary value to, or accept anything of monetary value from, any
public official, or officer, employee, attorney, or agent of any broadcast enterprise or establishment that manufactures, distributes, sells, leases, or services broadcast
equipment, except as otherwise provided in this Act.
(b) No Director or Delegate shall personally or through any partner render any professional service or make or perform any business contract with or for any broadcast
enterprise or establishment that manufactures, distributes, sells, leases, or services broadcast equipment.
(c) No public official or officer, employee, or agent of any broadcast enterprise or establishment that manufactures, distributes, sells, leases, or services broadcast equipment
shall offer anything of monetary value to, or accept anything of monetary value from, the Corporation or its Directors, Delegates, employees, or agents, except as otherwise
provided in this Act.
(d) The office of a Director or Delegate found in violation of subsection (a) or (b) shall be declared vacant.
Section 25. Dissolution.
Upon the termination, dissolution, or winding up of the Corporation in any manner or for any reason, voluntary or involuntary, its assets, if any, remaining after the payment
or provision for payment of all liabilities of the Corporation shall be distributed to, and only to, one or more organizations described in Section 501 (c)(3) of the IRS Code.
Further, if at any time or times the Corporation is a private foundation within the meaning of Section 509 of the IRS code, then during such time or times no payment shall be
made under this Act if such payment would constitute an act of self-dealing (as defined in Section 4941 (d) of the IRS code) or a taxable expenditure (as defined in Section
4945 (d) of the IRS code).
The Corporation may dissolve or be dissolved under the Model nonprofit Corporation Act (19) to the extent consistent with this Act.
Section 26. Construction of this Act.
(a) The provisions of this Act shall be construed in such a manner as best to enable the Corporation effectively to represent and protect the interests of the broadcast
consumers of the United States.
(b) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the right of any persons to initiate, intervene in, or otherwise participate in any proceeding of a public body, or court
action, nor to require any petition or notification to the Corporation as a condition precedent to the exercise of such right, nor to relieve the Commission of any obligation,
or to affect its discretion, to permit intervention or participation of any person in any proceeding or action.
Comment: This Section is designed to protect minorities within Audience Network as well as interests outside it. These groups would be as free to present their views and
protect their interests as they are at present.
Section 27. Severability.
If any provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid, the other provisions shall remain in effect notwithstanding.
Section 28. Effective Date
This Act shall become effective on the date of its adoption.
1. . See Wis. Stats. S199.01 et seq. 1979, Ill. Rev. A Stat. ch. 111 2/3, S902 et Seq. (1984 Cumm. Supp.). See also Best, Governmental Facilitation of Consumerism: A
Proposal for Consumer Action Groups, 50 Temple Law Quarterly 253 (1977); Leflar and Rogol, Consumer Participation in the Regulation of Public Utilities: A Model Act,
13 Harv. J. on Leg. 235 (1976).
2. . 5 American Landmark Legislation 440 (Sloan, ed. 1977).
3. 2 U.S.C. S431(f) (Supp. 1975).
4. 2 U.S.C. S431(e) (Supp. 1975).
5. DC Code Ann Sections 29-501 to 29-599.14.
6. 26 U.S.C.A. S501 et seq.
7. The Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC S301 et seq. gives “parties in interest” the right to become a party to an agency proceeding by filing a petition for
intervention. Id. at 309 (e). Furthermore, courts have stated that the right to intervene in agency proceedings may be necessary to make the right to judicial review of agency
orders meaningful. See American Communications Association v. U.S., 298 F. 2d 648, 650 (1962)
8. “Prime time” for television is currently defined as 7-11 p.m. Eastern Time and Pacific Time, and 6-10 p.m. Central Time and Mountain Time. 47 C.F.R. S73.658
(1982). “Drive time” similarly refers to the periods of greatest audience potential, including the commuter hours during the week, plus the most popular listening hours
during weekends. See Public Notice Concerning Licensees Responsibility Under Amendments to the Communications Act Made by the Federal Election Campaign Act of
1971, 47 F.C.C. 2d 516, 516 n. 1 (1974). Advertising rates set by the radio stations could be used as a guide in defining the hours to be included in the “drive time” period.
9. Section 303 of the Communications Act requires that “changes in the . . . times of operation of any station shall not be made without the consent of the station
licensee unless, after a pubic hearing, the Commission shall determine that such changes will promote public convenience or interest or will serve public necessity, or the
provisions of this chapter will be more fully complied with.” It will be necessary under the Audience Network proposal to alter the authorized times of operation of all
licensees at once, rather than waiting until renewal time, to avoid unfair competitive advantages. However, the hearing requirement is not implicated as written because the
change is being made by Congress, while S303 refers only to the powers and duties of the Commission. This interpretation is fair to the licensees because sufficient public
airing of this issue will take place during Congressional hearings.
10. “S73.1715 Share time. Operation is permitted by two or more broadcast stations using the same channel in accordance with a division of hours mutually agreed upon
and considered part of their licenses.” 47 C.F.R. S73.1715 (1983). Although this regulation is entitled “Share time,” it actually contemplates the use of a single frequency
by separate licensees. This is technically “frequency-sharing.”
11. Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 390-91 (1969).
12. See Loyola University v. F.C.C., 670 F.2d 1222 (D.C. Cir. 1982); Great Lakes Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Radio Commission, 37 F.2d 993 (D.C. Cir. 1930).
See also Goodwill Stations Inc. v. F.C.C., 325 F.2d 637 (D.C. Cir. 1963).
13. See Farmers Educational & Cooperative Union of America v. WDAY, 360 U.S. 525 (1959), holding that 47 U.S.C.A. S315(a) precludes the licensee from deleting
possibly defamatory material from a broadcast made by a political candidate under the equal opportunities rule, and therefore, that the licensee bears no responsibility for any
defamatory statements made in such a speech.
14. Obscene broadcasts are covered by 18 U.S.C. S 1464 (West 1966): “Whoever utters any obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio communications
shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.”The broadcast licensee would not be liable for any Audience Network broadcast which
violated this provision because science is an element of the offense. U.S. v. Smith, 467 F.2d 1126, 1129-30 (7th Cir. 1972). See also Tallman v. U.S. 465 F.2d 282 (7th Cir.
1972). Furthermore, since the broadcast licensee is to have no control over Audience Network broadcasts, the licensee could not fairly be said to be the one who “utters” the
offensive language. The broadcast licensee would face no problems under state obscenity laws because state regulation of this area is pre-empted by S 1464. Allen B.
Dumont Laboratories v. Carroll, 86 F. Supp. 813 (E.D.Pa. 1949).
15. For example, broadcasts made during Audience Network time would not:
- Enter into the Commission’s consideration of license renewal applications pursuant to 47 USCA S307(c) (West Supp. 1983), except that the Commission should be
allowed to consider whether the broadcast licensee has cooperated with Audience Network under the provisions of this statute;
- Trigger the broadcast licensee’s responsibilities under the equal opportunities doctrine, or the fairness doctrine
and personal attack rules should they be reinstituted;
- Be considered in determining whether the broadcast licensee has satisfied the Fairness Doctrine requirements of adequate and balanced coverage of controversial issues of
public importance should the Fairness Doctrine be reinstituted;
- Constitute grounds for administrative sanctions or license revocations pursuant to 47 U.S.C.A. SS312, 502 (West Supp. 1983); or
- Constitute grounds for penalties against the broadcast licensee such as 18 U.S.C.A. SS1304 (lotteries), 1343 (fraud), 1464 (obscene, indecent or profane language) (West
16. See 47 C.F.R. S73.1201 (1982).
17. See CBS v. F.C.C., 629 F.2d 1, 27 (D.C. Cir. 1980), aff’d, 453 U.S. 367 (1981) (The F.C.C. has authority to apply 47 U.S.C. S312(a)(7), concerning reasonable
access for federal political candidates, to the networks as well as licensees.)
18. See United Steel Workers of America v. Sadlowski, 457 U.S. 102, 121 N. 16 (1982). (A labor union’s rule that precludes candidates for union office from accepting
campaign contributions from non-Members does not constitute state action.)
19. DC Code Ann SS29-548 to 29-564.