Italy's Istituto Bruno Leoni Reviews 'The Political Spectrum'

Aug. 11, 2017

“The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand.  The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles.  The wireless is exactly the same, only without the cat,” Albert Einstein allegedly said. In one hundred years, Einstein's cat has become billions and billions of cats, all knotted together. We have passed from one-to-one communications, to broadcast transmissions, and finally to that mix of both, one-off contact which takes centre stage in the global theatre, which our smartphones are facing. 

Read the full review, translated to English, here


Overcoming Bias Blog Reviews 'The Political Spectrum'

Aug. 4, 2017

I just read The Political Spectrum by Tom Hazlett, which took me back to my roots. Well over three decades ago, I was inspired by Technologies of Freedom by Ithiel de Sola Pool. He made the case both that great things were possible with tech, and that the FCC has mismanaged the spectrum. In grad school twenty years ago, I worked on FCC auctions, and saw mismanagement behind the scenes. ...

Read the full review at Overcoming Bias

Sinclair and 'Big Media': The outrage that caused the outrage

Aug. 8, 2017

The following op-ed by Tom appeared in The Hill.

A bitter controversy has engulfed Washington over the “UHF Discount.”  But it is sound and fury over what are zombie rules governing phantom markets.

There are deep reasons to question TV regulations, which preserve airwave set-asides created prior to World War II and which now deprive wireless customers of bandwidth for their tablets, smartphones, flat panels and Fit Bits.  But those protests have curiously yet to emerge. ...

Read the full piece here.

Telecommunications Policy Journal Reviews 'The Political Spectrum'

Aug. 1, 2017

"[A] hugely entertaining account of the various somersaults and other gymnastic manoeuvres performed by the government agency with primary responsibility in the United States for oversight of the airwaves ... Professor Hazlett also has [a] serious purpose in mind. We need to understand history because otherwise policymakers are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past... [It] is surely time for policymakers to consider ... reforms which Professor Hazlett proposes. This book reminds us that the road to better spectrum policy is always curious and often quixotic, but the direction of travel towards greater reliance upon economics and markets is clear. My only concern is that whilst the changes Professor Hazlett proposes could deliver enormous benefits to our society and the economy, they might also mean that future spectrum policy becomes less entertaining than this excellent book shows it to have been in the past."

Read the full review here

Hazlett Interviewed on CRTV's Louder With Crowder

July 25, 2017

Listen to the episode at (login needed). 

Policy Tracker Reviews 'The Political Spectrum'

July 24, 2017

Read the full review here

CBS Philly's Rich Zeoli Interviews Hazlett

July 20, 2017

CBS' Rich Zeoli brings years of local political and communications experience to the Philadelphia airwaves. On July 20, he sat down with Thomas Hazlett to discuss The Political Spectrum. Listen to the interview below, or visit the CBS Philly website.   

Rush Limbaugh: The Brilliance of Professor Hazlett's Book

July 19, 2017

RUSH: I spoke about my friend Professor Hazlett’s book. It’s… Let me grab the actual copy of it. Switch the graphic to the professor’s book.

Read More

Wall Street Journal Reviews 'The Political Spectrum': Unlocking the Airwaves

July 16, 2017

In regulating radio, the FCC enacted rules nominally in the public interest, but which actually enriched specific interest groups. Gregory L. Rosston reviews ‘The Political Spectrum’ by Thomas Winslow Hazlett.

Read the full review at The Wall Street Journal

Rush Limbaugh Praises 'The Political Spectrum': 'I would love for you all to get a chance to see it.'

June 12, 2017

RUSH: The last two days, I have been trying to work in a plug for my really good friend Professor Hazlett’s latest book. It’s Tom Hazlett, who I met in Sacramento back in the mid-eighties. He is now at Clemson.

He’s become an expert on the FCC, the use of frequency spectrum and regulation in the technology age. His book is called The Political Spectrum, and it’s written for average, ordinary Americans. It’s not in economic legalese. It’s a story about how regulation and Washington politics are hurting technology and innovation. ...

More at Rush Limbaugh's website

Adam Smith Institute Reviews 'The Political Spectrum'

July 12, 2017

Prof Thomas W. Hazlett, who recently spoke at the ASI, has accomplished something remarkable with The Political Spectrum. He's written a history of electromagnetic spectrum regulation that’s entertaining, inspiring, and has massive implications for the technologies of the future like driverless cars and drone delivery. ...

Read the full review at the Adam Smith Institute

Hazlett Joins 'The American Interest' Podcast

July 12, 2017

Good evening, listeners! This week, our host Richard Aldous speaks with Thomas Winslow Hazlett, author of The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone about everything from Google’s Project Loon to why it’s so hard to get reliable and consistent cell phone reception while driving across the United States.

Listen to the full interview below or at The American Interest

FCC and the Internet: In Search of Bandwidth

July 8, 2017

The following piece by Tom appeared in Barron's:

The Radio Act of 1927, the brainchild of then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover, created a regulatory regime for carefully parceling out airwaves according to a “public interest” standard. It was said to be necessary to prevent chaos—“etheric bedlam.” In fact, it was not. Rather, it reflected Washington politics that favored incumbent interests—the first few visionaries who opened radio stations and enjoyed commercial...

Read the full post at Barron's.

'The Political Spectrum' Excerpted in 'The American Interest'

July 5, 2017

Free the Spectrum! Anti-competitive spectrum regulation squelches innovation and impedes progress. Government should get out of the way.

Read the full excerpt at The American Interest

Hazlett Talks Net Neutrality With Virginia Public Radio

June 30, 2017

The On-Going Debate Over Net Neutrality: Lawmakers in Washington are debating the future of the internet. How much should it be regulated? Or should it be regulated? These are some of the questions at the heart of the debate over net neutrality...

Read the full story, or listen to the full report here

New Books Network Interviews Hazlett

June 30, 2017

On June 30, Tom discussed The Political Spectrum with the New Books Network.

Click here to download, or listen to, the full podcast.

A Short History of Radio Explains the iPhone’s Success

June 29, 2017

The following story from Thomas Hazlett appeared in Harvard Business Review.

The iPhone roared into the marketplace 10 years ago today, and overwhelmed the wireless world. The smartphone’s iconic social significance has been duly noted. What has escaped attention is that the device burst into a sector long insulated from the slightest threat of disruptive innovation. The iPhone’s victorious attack followed — and required — a long arc of liberalization in airwaves, itself a stunning regulatory and marketplace triumph.

Read more

Thank Goodness Apple's iPhone Violated 'Net Neutrality' in 2007

June 28, 2017

The following story from Thomas Hazlett appeared in RealClearMarkets:

Ten years ago this week the Apple iPhone, described by Steve Jobs as a “revolutionary product” that “changes everything,” went on sale for the first time. A million flew off the shelves in just ten weeks and a decade later—with more than a billion sold worldwide—the iPhone has transformed the way we live, work and do business.

Read more.

Hazlett Presents at the Adam Smith Institute

June 28, 2017

On June 26, Tom spoke about The Political Spectrum at London's Adam Smith Institute - the first of many presentations scheduled throughout Europe in late June and July.

Video of the event's Facebook Live stream can be viewed on the Institute's Facebook page

Hazlett Cited in Technology Liberation Front: Why not auction off low-altitude airspace for exclusive use?

June 27, 2017

Tech-optimists predict that drones and small aircraft may soon crowd US skies. An FAA administrator predicted that by 2020 tens of thousands of drones would be in US airspace at any one time. Further, over a dozen companies, including Uber, are building vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that could one day shuttle people point-to-point in urban areas. Today, low-altitude airspace use is episodic (helicopters, ultralights, drones) and with such light use, the low-altitude airspace is shared on an ad hoc basis with little air traffic management. Coordinating thousands of aircraft in low-altitude flight, however, demands a new regulatory framework.

Ready the full article at

Hazlett Cited in Washington Post: Broadband’s future is in the crosshairs of the FCC’s ‘political spectrum’

June 22, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission, once a sleepy regulatory backwater, has become a deeply political agency, governed less by the science of radio waves than by pressure from inside-the-Beltway groups. If nothing else, the decade-long debate over net neutrality, reignited this year by Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to undo a 2015 decision to turn Internet service providers into public utilities, makes that clear enough. TV comedians regularly weigh in, while paid protesters disrupt FCC meetings. Pai has even received racist death threats.

How did we get here? The answer, according to “The Political Spectrum” (Yale University Press 2017), a remarkable new book by Clemson University economist Thomas Hazlett, is that the agency began life with a political agenda, one that continues to override its technical experts.

Read the full story at the Washington Post

The Political Spectrum Excerpted in Reason Magazine

June 20, 2017

We Could Have Had Cellphones Four Decades Earlier: Thanks For Nothing, Federal Communications Commission[From the July 2017 edition of Reason Magazine]

The basic idea of the cellphone was introduced to the public in 1945—not in Popular Mechanics or Science, but in the down-home Saturday Evening Post. Millions of citizens would soon be using "handie-talkies," declared J.K. Jett, the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Licenses would have to be issued, but that process "won't be difficult." The revolutionary technology, Jett promised in the story, would be formulated within months.

For the full excerpt, visit

Hazlett Cited in Forbes: "The Future Of Antitrust Enforcement: Innovation, Wage Inequality And Democracy"

June 15, 2017

In this installment of the Bytes Chat, we convened a panel of antitrust experts to discuss the future of antitrust enforcement. Bytes contributors Sally Hubbard, senior editor at the Capital Forum and former assistant attorney general in the antitrust bureau of the New York Attorney General’s office, and Hal Singer, senior fellow at George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy were joined by special guests Jonathan Kanter, a partner at Paul Weiss, and Josh Wright, executive director of the Global Antitrust Institute at the Scalia Law School at George Mason and former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. The Chat covered a range of topics, including whether there is under-enforcement of innovation-based antitrust cases, whether the scope of antitrust should be expanded to address income inequality and democracy, and the future of antitrust enforcement in the Trump Administration. The transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

For the full story, visit Forbes

Hazlett Cited in Fudzilla: "How the US government killed off mobile phones"

June 15, 2017

The world could have had mobile phones more than 40 years ago but the concept was killed off by the US government which considered them too niche and refused to give out any spectrum.

Read more at Fudzilla.

VIDEO: Hazlett Speaks at The Hudson Institute

June 6, 2017

On June 6, Tom visited the renowned Hudson Institute to deliver his presentation, "Political Spectrum: The Next Chapter."  Visit the institute's website or YouTube for video of the presentation. 

Radio: Hazlett Joins Fox News Radio to Discuss "The Political Spectrum"

June 5, 2017

Listen below to the full interview with Fox News Radio's Brian Kilmeade:


Radio: Hazlett Joins NPR for Net Neutrality Discussion

May 31, 2017

The Internet's First Amendment: The New Fight For Net Neutrality: Some call it “the First Amendment of the internet”: keep all data flowing free, and fast. The head of the Federal Communications Commission says the Obama-era rules need to change so business isn’t harmed. The net neutrality rules prevented internet service providers from favoring certain sites by intentionally speeding or slowing down user access. Consumer advocates say the move to loosen the rules would largely leave the industry to police itself. How do we keep the internet open, free AND competitive?

Listen to the panel discussion, also featuring former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, on NPR

Book Review: Telecom regulations: Don’t let history repeat itself

May 30, 2017

A well-known adage about human endeavors is that “history repeats itself.” I prefer an equally popular but more optimistic adage: “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” Before you say “gee, if that’s your idea of optimism, remind me not to invite you to my Stanley Cup Finals party,” note the hope that by knowing history we may be able to avoid prior pitfalls. With this in mind, I have been reveling in the great new book release for all telecom, tech, broadcast, and internet lovers — Thomas Hazlett’s “The Political Spectrum” (Yale University Press, 2017), which looks at the history of the communications industries. If you are lucky enough to know Hazlett (as I do) or have seen a talk by him (as I have), you know he is a tour de force.  A former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chief economist, he’s a scholar, a professor, and a man of great, diverse knowledge in all things telecom and broadcast (and he’s very funny).

Read the full review at Tech Policy Daily.

Clemson: Economist Thomas Hazlett targets bygone wireless regulations in new book

May 26, 2017

As a former chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission, Thomas Hazlett witnessed the good, bad and ugly of the agency that regulates our nation’s airwaves.

Hazlett, Clemson University’s Hugh Macaulay Endowed Chair of Economics, shares those insights in his recently released book, “The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone” (Yale University Press, 2017).

“You see a lot and learn a lot as chief economist at the FCC,” said Hazlett. “As a consultant to the agency’s chairman, you witness the good and bad, from the work of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who try to do the right thing to the structure of a perverse system that stymies their every attempt to advance the radio spectrum so that it serves the public’s best interests.” ...

Read the full review here

Hazlett: FCC “Incentive Auction” marks progress and pitfalls towards freeing wireless spectrum

May 24, 2017

The following op-ed by Tom appeared in the Brookings Institution's TechTank blog on May 24:

In February 2009 the Federal Communications Commission began to draft a National Broadband Plan (NBP). Published in March 2010, the study asked how policymakers might improve broadband in the U.S.

The answer: use innovative market mechanisms to nudge more spectrum into the wireless sector. Cellular networks were exploding in popularity, hosting apps like Facebook and YouTube, and their capacities were being severely strained by the emerging mobile data tsunami. Yet, vast bandwidth was locked up under rigid allocations laid out for the technologies of yesteryear. More permissive rules would allow those frequencies to accommodate emerging networks and fuel robust competition in the mobile market. ...

Read the full post here.

Hazlett: United Airlines' 'Re-Accommodation' Could Have So Easily Been Avoided

May 23, 2017

United’s passenger “re-accommodation” debacle was so easy to avoid. An auction would discover which passengers would be eager to step aside.  United did dangle $800 in flight credits for seats, but that price was wrong. Bidding was curiously halted.  And then United decided to acquire its desired seats the old-fashioned way, caveman style.

Read the full post here

ReasonTV Interview: How Deregulation Gave Us FM Radio, HBO, and the iPhone

May 22, 2017

Hazlett sits down with editor Nick Gillespie to discuss The Political Spectrum. 

Watch the interview and read the transcript here

Video: "The Political Spectrum" Presented at Heritage Foundation

May 18, 2017

Visit the Heritage Foundation website or C-SPAN to view Tom's full presentation of The Political Spectrum, and the panel discussion joined by Charla Rath (Vice President, Wireless Policy Development, Verizon), Robert Pepper (Head, Global Connectivity and Technology Policy, Facebook), and Heritage host James L. Gattuso. 

Hazlett: From FM to the Smartphone: The Evolution of Radio Media

May 16, 2017

The Age of Wireless has triggered excitement, disruption, and challenge. Debates rage on about the value of social media, how to deal with the threat of cyber hacking, and the regulation of emerging networks. But beneath it all lies a hardened policy structure that doles out radio spectrum rights. ....

Read the rest of this post at the Yale Book Unbound blog.

"Political Spectrum" Cited on

May 9, 2017

In the latest post on the Hit & Run blog, editor-in-chief of Nick Gillespie cites Tom's latest work:

...Indeed, it's far from clear that we've ever needed any sort of FCC to hash out technical issues and interference claims, the least-objectionable rationale for its existence. As longtime Reason contributor, Clemson professor, and former chief economist at the FCC Thomas W. Hazlett shows in his brilliant new history, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Technology, from Herbert Hoover To the Smartphone, the basic story used to justify the FCC's predecessor (the Federal Radio Commission) in the 1920s is bullshit. Legend has it that larger stations were drowning out and interfering with smaller stations' signals, ushering in period of chaos that only federal control could sort out. All sorts of ad hoc and legal redress "Regulators," contends Hazlett convincingly, "blocked competition at the behest of incumbent interests and, for nearly a century, have suppressed innovation while quashing out-of-the-mainstream viewpoints."...

Read the full post here

Forbes Book Review: A New Book Proves That In Wireless The Government Is Never There To Help

May 5, 2017

You may or may not be looking for a book full of historical nuggets on the inventors, innovators, regulators, and politicians involved in all facets of the wireless telecom industry over its one hundred plus year existence, but you should be. Thomas Hazlett’s The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone (Yale University Press, 2017) is a perfect blend of economic insight, historical anecdotes, and lessons that present and future regulators in any industry can use to benefit citizens and society rather than being guided by their own aims, biases, or fears. Anybody interested in telecom, politics, regulation, or economics should read this book; they will learn much. ...

Read the full review at Forbes

Video: Hazlett on C-SPAN's Q&A Program

May 2, 2017

Q&A with Thomas Hazlett: Professor Thomas Hazlett talked about his book, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone, about the history and politics of U.S. communications policy. Mr. Hazlett served as chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1991-92.

Watch the full interview or read its transcript at the C-SPAN website

Ajit Pai’s New FCC “Office of Economics & Data” is a Home Run

April 11, 2017

Read Tom's latest post for the Technology Policy Institute here

Hazlett at the Aspen Institute

April 6, 2017

Thank you to everyone who joined Tom for the April 6 book forum at The Aspen Institute's Communications & Society Program in Washington, D.C.! 

Read more about the discussion here

WPHT Radio

March 2, 2017

Tom spoke with CBS Radio in Philadelphia about The Political Spectrum. Listen to the full interview below. 

Hazlett: Herbert Hoover's Radio Malware Turns 90

February 24, 2017

To read Tom's full op-ed, visit

Hazlett: Regulation, Chaos, and a Vast Wasteland: New Book Dials In to Past & Present of the Radio Spectrum

February 9, 2017

To read Tom's full story, visit The Washington DC 100

Donald Trump May Try To Stifle Freedom of Expression but His FCC Head Ajit Pai Will Defend a "Free and Open Internet"

January 31, 2017

To read Tom's quotes in the full article, visit

Hazlett: Obama's misguided plan to connect schools to the Internet

August 23, 2016

To read Tom's full op-ed, visit POLITICO

Hazlett: Patients dying because of FDA inflexibility

May 25, 2016

To read Tom's full op-ed, visit The Hill

Hazlett: How To Neuter the Net Revolution

Nov. 11, 2014

To read Tom's full op-ed, visit TIME