Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Structurally Unsound: The Changing State of Local Television

Baggerman, Thomas W. (2006) Structurally Unsound: The Changing State of Local Television. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (906kB) | Preview


The centralized structure of ownership of the local television industry in the United States today has resulted from a combination of regulatory and market pressures. This dissertation analyzes the ways in which centralizing tendencies in ownership structure have been accompanied by the centralization of operations. As station groups add more stations and seek to operate the stations they already own in an ever more profitable manner, changed industrial practices are vitally important because they have direct effects upon the product of those stations, especially local television news.In analyzing such centralizing tendencies, the project focuses not only on centralization of ownership and operation, but on two further factors as well: changing interpretations of the "public interest" and the development of technologies for local television stations. Changing interpretations of the "public interest" provision of regulatory law permitted and encouraged station groups to grow larger, redefining the structure of the local television industry, even in the times of heaviest restriction. In terms of technological development, after a brief period of equipment designed simply to get product on the air, television equipment developers followed a consistent guiding principle of staff reduction and job simplification which aided this momentum towards centralization. The combination of changing ownership structures, shifts in understandings of "public interest," and new technologies has resulted in new business models built around invoking economies of scale, including centralcasting and multi-channel operation. These new business models have dramatically altered the program product of local television stations, especially local news. News programming, which initially entered broadcasting in response to the regulatory mandate that broadcasters serve the public in return for free access to the public airwaves, has been transformed into a primary source of local station revenue. This commodified version of news programming is the logical result of practices begun in newspapers and continued in radio broadcasting. The news product of local stations is an area of vital concern in the present day media environment, as the quantity of news on the air increases without a corresponding increase in newsroom resources, jeopardizing the quality and veracity of those news programs.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Baggerman, Thomas
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStabile, Carol A
Committee MemberSterne, Jonathan
Committee MemberSimonson, Peter
Committee MemberBellamy, Robert
Date: 1 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 April 2006
Approval Date: 1 June 2006
Submission Date: 13 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Broadcasting; Broadcasting Technology; Local News; Local Television; Local Television News; Television Technology
Other ID:, etd-04132006-124130
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:36
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item