Political Broadcasting After the Aspen Ruling: Legislative Reform of Section 315(a) of the Communications Act of 1934

The FCC’s new interpretation of section 315(a) in the Aspen ruling greatly reduced its inhibitory effect on broadcasters. The ruling, however, has created further interpretive problems regarding the broadcast debate format, and has not completely resolved the more general problem of giving the electorate greater and more direct exposure to candidates during campaigns through programming that forces candidates to confront each other on the major issues. This article will discuss the. background of section 315(a), then explain each of its exemptions. Finally, it will propose possible reforms in the area of political broadcasting in light of the Aspen ruling.