The Different Communication Media Channels

Communication that is mediated or transmitted through channels such as television, film, radio, social networking sites, fax, e-mail, cell phone, overnight couriers, messengers, and print is generally referred to as media, a plural form of medium (Alberts, Nakayama, & Martin 2007). The only communication that is not mediated is perhaps face-to-face communication, which takes place among people who understand each other’s language. All other non-face-to-face communications go through channels.

Mass Media

All forms of communication that are devoted to transmitting standardized messages to widespread audience are called mass media (Thomson & Heckey 1999). This includes newspapers, magazines, books, e-books, radio, social networking sites and the Internet, television, and motion picture. By and large, much of mass media has become electronic media and covers radio, television, media technology, and web design with streaming audio and video.

Generally, communication involves the giving, receiving or exchanging of information, opinions, or ideas to ensure that the message is completely understood by everybody involved. It is essentially a two-way process, comprising the elements of the sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback, and context. Mass media does not consist much of these. It is a one-way system. Yet, the emergence of new media and social media has transformed media to become more of a dialog, mimicking a typical two-way system. In mass media, the audience is not obliged to pay attention or give feedback.

New Media and Social Media

Under new media and social media, communication is not necessarily relational but the issue and interest-based instead. With the help of technology, new media has helped transform the notion of a community based on geography to a community based on interest, from citizens to netizens. People forge a conversational community driven by the common interest and generally focused on a single issue and are virtually located. Blogging and social networking, the most prominent forms of social media, tend to resemble a typical mass media style in the sense that there is impersonality, no privacy nor the specific recipient of the messages nor the obligation to respond. Yet, it has the provision for concerned people to respond and sustain a discussion and exchange of views in a two-way style. This can be done online and in real-time using instant messaging. Unlike a carefully researched response, in this communication, people are more concerned with expressing their opinions and feelings about the issue at hand. 

New media and social media have also challenged the profession of communication and ethics of communication. It is not regulated by members of the profession but by the discourse of participants. There is more self-censorship than professional and public censorship since participants can choose to go by any name, may portray a self-image, and they may choose to remain anonymous. New media and social media have also redefined participatory democracy with new political implications. Open debates and consensus on issues are increasingly sought and achieved through new media and social media. 

Telecommunication

Telecommunication refers to the transmission of information by electromagnetic means. Large volumes of information in the form of words, sounds, or images, over long distances, are transmitted in the form of electromagnetic signals, by telegraph, telephone, radio, or television. The term covers a vast range of information transmitting technologies including mobile phones, landlines, VoIP, and broadcast networks (Telecommunication 2015; Techopedia.com 2016).

The data is transmitted in the form of electrical signals, modulated into analog or digital signals for transmitting the information. Analog modulations used in radio broadcasting are amplitude modulation and digital modulation. Telecommunications and broadcasting are administered worldwide by the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT). This agency allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. The organization is based on a public-private partnership since its inception. At present, The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has a membership of 193 countries and almost 800 private-sector entities and academic institutions. Its headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland, and has twelve regional and area offices around the world. The membership represents a cross-section of the global ICT sector, from the world’s largest manufacturers and telecoms carriers to small, innovative players working with new and emerging technologies, along with leading R&D institutions and academia. ITU was founded on the principle of international cooperation between governments (Member States) and the private sector (Sector Members, Associates, and Academia). It now serves as the premier global forum through which parties work toward consensus on a wide range of issues affecting the future direction of the ICT industry. Each country has its own agency for enforcing telecommunications regulations.

In the Philippines, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is the nation’s regulatory agency responsible to steer the telecommunications sector as a primary engine for national progress and development. It is responsible for the maintenance and continuous improvement of a regulatory regime conducive to the development and provision of an affordable, viable, reliable, and accessible telecommunications infrastructure and services.

NTC fulfills the following mandates: regulate the installation, operation, and maintenance of radio stations both for private and public use (RA 3846, as amended); regulate and supervise the provision of public telecommunications services (RA 7925, CA146, as amended); manage the radio spectrum (RA 3846, as amended and RA 7925); and regulate and supervise radio and television broadcast stations, cable television (CATV) and pay television (E0 546 and E0 205). 

The functions of NTC include:

  • Grant certificates of public convenience and necessity/provisional authority to install, operate and maintain telecommunications, broadcast, and CATV services
  • Grant licenses to install, operate, and maintain radio stations 
  • Allocate/sub-allocate and assign the use of radio frequencies
  • Type-approve/type-accept all radio communications, broadcast and customer premises equipment
  • Conduct radio communications examination and issue radio operators certificate
  • Prepare, pin, and conduct studies for, policy and regulatory purposes
  • Monitor the operation of all telecommunications and broadcast activities
  • Enforce applicable domestic and international laws, rules and regulations, prosecute violation thereof and impose appropriate penalties/sanctions
  • Issue licenses to operate land, maritime, aeronautical, and safety devices
  • Perform such other telecommunications/broadcast-related activities as may be necessary in the interest of the public.

There is also a private sector, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), organized in 1973 to provide mechanism for self-regulation in the broadcasting industry.