I brought the FCC people into my car and I drove them all around downtown Washington and I showed them that no, satellite communications does work. So they said, “Okay, it works. Secondly, any frequencies that you want are going to have to be taken away from somebody else because the military uses all these frequencies and television news gathering trucks use these frequencies…” All the frequencies are being used by somebody or another, but mostly they’re not being used very efficiently.
So I then created a grass roots movement of rural organizations. A lot of them were search-and-rescue type organizations who would benefit from having 24 hours of content being broadcast all the time by satellite, including aircraft in flight. And I had over 300 grassroots organizations in turn, including community groups in places like Oklahoma and Nebraska. I proved, because the law says the FCC is supposed to allocate the radio frequencies, quote unquote, “in the public interest.” So I said the public interest is to have the same diversity of programming in big cities everywhere in the country. Satellites can do it. Then they said, “Well, it’s not legal for one company to control 100 channels across the entire country.”
In fact, it wasn’t even legal for one company to control more than three channels in any one city. So I said, I had to come up with an entirely new concept for them. I said, “Well, that’s true if it’s free. But what if we make people pay for this?” And they’d never thought of that. They said, “Well, that’s something completely different.”