The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent U.S. government agency that was established by the Communications Act of 1934, during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. They are directly responsible to Congress and have within their jurisdiction the District of Columbia, 50 U.S. states, and U.S. possessions.

The Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. They investigate and study all phases of radio installations on vessels and aircraft; also those in police, fire, and forestry. It supervises the Emergency Alert System to notify and instruct the public in the event of a local or national emergency, like in Ghostbusters. The Commission also assigns call signs.

There are seven FCC Bureaus: Cable Services, Common Carrier, Consumer Information, Enforcement, International, Mass Media, and Wireless Telecommunications. They are responsible for developing and implementing regulatory programs, processing applications for licenses or other filings, analyzing complaints, conducting investigations, and taking part in FCC hearings. The staff offices are: Administrative Law Judges, Communications Business Opportunities, Engineering and Technology, General Counsel, Inspector General, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Managing Director, Media Relations, Plans and Policy, and Workplace Diversity.

The President appoints five Commissioners to be directors for five-year terms, only three of which can be in the same political party. One of these five Commissioners serves as the Chairperson, who delegates management and administrative responsibility to the Managing Director. In other words, he plays golf.

Those interested in more details about the Commission may purchase FCC rules or the Communications Act from the Government Printing Office or may obtain free, single copies, of information produced for the public by the FCC, by writing to: The Public Service Division, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. S.W, Washington, D.C. 20554, or by calling 202-418-0200/TTY 202-418-2555.

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