La Raza Law Journal
Hispanics constitute an increasingly substantial segment of the United States population. The Spanish language is an important part of the Hispanic culture, and is spoken in a large number of American homes. However, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the courts have required broadcasters to present programming to meet the needs of various minority groups, including the Hispanic community, there are no clear guidelines as to when this community has a right to programming in Spanish. Conversely, broadcasters have no guidelines for determining their obligation, if any, to present Spanish programming arises.
To resolve this issue, it is helpful to examine the FCC’s general authority to regulate programming content to insure that broadcasters are adequately serving minority groups in their respective broadcast areas, as well as the confusing postures the FCC has taken when trying to determine when service to the minority community required Spanish-language broadcasting. The results of these examinations suggest that the FCC could begin to resolve the dilemma by articulating the reasons why Spanish-language broadcasting should be made available. These reasons can then supply the foundation necessary for the cultivation of a scheme for determining when, and to what extent, broadcasters should be required to present Spanish-language programming.
Bill Piatt, Linguistic Diversity on the Airwaves: Spanish-Language Broadcasting and the FCC, 1 La Raza L.J. 101 (1984).