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More than Seven Dirty Words

Get to Know the Federal Communications Commission

The FCC is more than "Seven Dirty Words." It's over 1400 employees, 80 years of history, and countless untold stories and unsung heroes. The Official FCC Podcast will bring you those stories, featuring interviews with FCC staff and others in the communications space.


23 minutes

Broadcasting in Wildfires

When wildfires hit California, how did local broadcasters respond?

Local news is important for many reasons, but it's often said that local broadcasters are at their finest when disaster strikes. We've seen this time and again, whether it was the hurricanes in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Houston, or other crises that impacted communities across the country. And we saw it when wild fires and mud slides hit California. So, what role did broadcasting play in public safety and the response to these months-long disasters? What sort of coordination happened between TV and radio stations and first responders? For the first time, the FCC podcast hits the road as Evan is joined by Mark Danielson, general manager of the News Press Gazette Company, which owns Santa Barbara's KEYT, where this episode was recorded. (Disclaimer)

22 minutes

Connecting America

FCC CAF II Auction to Bring Broadband to Rural Homes and Businesses

The U.S. has made tremendous strides over the past two decades in connecting Americans to high-speed broadband. But hurdles remain, as 24 million Americans still lack access. This is particularly true for sparsely populated areas where the economics of broadband are challenging. While only 2% of urban residents lack access, that number increases to 30% for rural residents. The FCC's number one mission is the close the Digital Divide, and there are many efforts under way, including the recent "Connect American Fund Phase II" auction. How does the auction work, and what will it mean for rural America? Joining Evan is Chelsea Fallon, Director of the FCC's Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force. For more information on the auction results, check out the FCC's interactive CAF II map. (Disclaimer)

24 minutes


Spoofing, scamming, and the FCC's crackdown on unwanted calls

It's not just you—everyone is getting robocalled. By one estimate, 50% of all calls will be spam by the end of 2019. To be sure, robocalls have been a problem for decades, but it seems like recently we've gotten to a boiling point, particularly when it comes to our cell phones. How did we get here, and what's being done about it? Evan is joined by Mark Stone, Deputy Bureau Chief of the FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau. They discuss the history of robocalls, the laws that combat them, and the actions the FCC is taking to stamp them out. Is there such a thing as a "good" robocall? And what is "neighborhood spoofing?" What can consumers and companies do to avoid scams? For more information, see the FCC's guide on unwanted calls and texts. (Disclaimer)

21 minutes

I'm Evan, And I Approve This Podcast

Equal time, lowest unit prices, and how a touring music man becomes the FCC's political ad guy

With the midterm elections fast approaching, political ads are sure to be flooding your TVs and radios. The Federal Election Commission certainly has plenty of work to do, but what role will the FCC play, given that radio and television are under its jurisdiction? Evan is joined by Bobby Baker, Assistant Division Chief of the Policy Division in the FCC's Media Bureau. They discuss the FCC's political ad rules—from equal time and opportunity to lowest unit prices to the always-exciting paperwork requirements. And how did Bobby go from being a touring music man in the 70s and 80s to running point at the FCC on political ad regulations? (Disclaimer)

34 minutes

The Personal Story Behind Kari's Law

Hank Hunt joins Chairman Pai and Evan to share the heart wrenching story of his daughter Kari's murder, his granddaughter who tried to call 911 but couldn't get through, a promise he made, and his successful crusade to fix a glaring problem with 911 calls

In 2013, Hank Hunt's daughter, Kari, was attacked and killed by her estranged husband in a Marshall, Texas hotel room. Kari's nine-year-old daughter was in the room and tried calling 911 on the hotel phone. She dialed 911 four times as her mother was attacked. But not one of her calls ever went through. Why? The hotel phone required guests to dial a "9" before calling outside the hotel—even for 911. Since that day, Hank has worked tirelessly—and successfully—with the FCC and Congress to change the law so that a "9" is no longer needed for 911 calls from multi-line systems like hotel phones. His efforts culminated in Kari's Law becoming the law of the land on Feb. 16, 2018. Hank joins Chairman Pai to share his story and discuss his five-year journey to enact Kari's law, including his work with the FCC. (Disclaimer)

16 minutes

This Is Not A Drill

Lisa Fowlkes discusses the latest in emergency alerting

On January 13, 2018, a false ballistic missile alert went out all over Hawaii. The message caused 38 minutes of panic and confusion until corrections were sent to residents' cell phones, televisions and radios through Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). When went wrong in Hawaii, and what did the FCC find in its investigation and report? While what happened in Hawaii may be an extreme example, Americans have become familiar with emergency alerts over the years—from flash flood and tornado warnings to AMBER Alerts when children go missing. What are some of the successes of the system, and what are some of the challenges? What is the FCC doing to improve WEAs, particularly when it comes to geotargeting and providing more information through the alerts? What should listeners expect when FEMA conducts a nationwide test on October 3, 2018? (Note: that test was originally scheduled for September 20). And finally, what do the latest innovations on the horizon mean for public safety? Evan discusses all that and more with Lisa Fowlkes, Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. (Disclaimer)

22 minutes

Puerto Rico Se Levanta

Evan Swarztrauber joins Roberto Mussenden to discuss Roberto's visits to Puerto Rico

On September 7, Hurricane Irma struck Puerto Rico. And not even two weeks later, on September 20, Hurricane Maria followed. The damage was catastrophic, as over 90 percent of the commercial, public safety, and governmental communications systems went down. For those that remained online, fuel shortages, power outages, and other issues further strained public safety and law enforcement operations. What was the FCC's role in the wake of these storms? Evan is joined by Roberto Mussenden, an attorney in the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, where he works to ensure that first responders can communicate with one another during emergencies. They discuss Roberto's visits to Puerto Rico, the FCC's response efforts, and where things stand almost a year later. (Disclaimer)

3 minutes


There's a lot more to the FCC than the headlines might suggest

How did you first learn about the FCC? Maybe it was the court fight over George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words." Or maybe it was the fallout from the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Or maybe it some other controversy. Whatever it was, there's a lot more to the FCC than the headlines might suggest. This agency has over 1,400 employees and 80 years of history. There's countless untold stories and unsung heroes, and this podcast will bring you those stories. Maybe we'll even achieve the impossible: make telecom interesting. So sit back, relax, and get to know the FCC. (Disclaimer)