Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: (888) CALL-FCC (225-5322)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which was established in 1934, regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in the U.S. The FCC is divided into several bureaus and offices. Among them are the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau and the Enforcement Bureau. The Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau develops and implements the FCC’s consumer policies, and receives consumer complaints about things such as broadcast ads and telemarketing. The Enforcement Bureau enforces the FCC’s rules by, among other things, issuing warnings, revoking broadcast licenses, and issuing fines.
Specifically with respect to advertising, the FCC is responsible for making sure certain types of ads (i.e., ads for tobacco products, ads that perpetuate a fraud, ads that promote certain lotteries, and obscene ads) are never aired on the TV or radio, while other types of ads (i.e., indecent or profane ads) are only aired during certain “adult” hours. Note that the FCC does not deal with all broadcast ads; just the ones listed above.
The FCC has also established, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the national Do-Not-Call Registry, and has established rules that prohibit the sending of spam mail to wireless devices without prior permission, and prohibit most unsolicited fax ads.