The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent Federal regulatory agency responsible directly to Congress. Established by the Communications Act of 1934, it is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Its jurisdiction covers the 50 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Possessions.

The FCC is directed by five commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms, except when filling an unexpired term. The President designates one commissioner to serve as chairman. As the chief executive officer of the Commission, the chairman delegates management and administrative responsibility to the Managing Director. Certain other functions are delegated to staff units and bureaus and to committees of commissioners. The commissioners hold regular open and closed agenda meetings and special meetings. They also may act between meetings by "circulation," a procedure by which a document is submitted to each commissioner individually for consideration and official action.

The Commission staff is organized by function. There are six operating Bureaus and 10 Staff Offices. The Bureaus' responsibilities include: processing applications for licenses and other filings; analyzing complaints; conducting investigations; developing and implementing regulatory programs; and taking part in hearings. The Offices provide support services. Even though the Bureaus and Offices have their individual functions, they regularly join forces and share expertise in addressing Commission issues. More on the FCC organizational structure and the Bureaus and Office functions are described at their website (www.fcc.gov).