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Information and Technology Sector, Communications

weekly TV Guide, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Telephone communication

The communications systems in the United States are among the most developed in the world. Television, radio, newspapers, and other publications, provide most of the countryís news and entertainment. On average there are two radios and one television set for every person in the United States. Although the economic output of the communications industry is relatively small, the industry has enormous importance to the political, social, and intellectual activity of the nation. Most communication media in the United States are privately owned and operate independently of government control.

The Federal Communications Commission must license all radio and television broadcasting stations in the United States. In 1997, 1,285 television broadcasters were in operation. All states had television stations, and more than 40 percent of the stations were concentrated in nine states: Texas, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and North Carolina. A rapidly growing number of U.S. households (estimated at 64 million in 1997) subscribed to cable television. An estimated 98.3 percent of U.S. households had at least one television set. Telephone communication changed as cellular phones allowed people to communicate via telephone while away from their homes and businesses or while traveling. There were 69 million cellular phones in use in 1998.

There were 1,489 daily newspapers published in the United States in 1998, 8 fewer than the year before. Daily newspapers had a circulation of approximately 60.1 million copies in 1998. The top daily newspapers in the United States according to circulation were the Wall Street Journal (published in New York City), USA Today (published in Arlington, Virginia), the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, each with a circulation in excess of 1 million. Other leading newspapers included the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nearly 21,300 periodicals were published in 1997. These ranged from specialized journals reaching only a small number of professionals to major newsmagazines such as Time, with a circulation of 4.1 million a week, and Newsweek, with a circulation of 3.2 million a week. Other mass publications with vast audiences included the weekly TV Guide, reaching 13.2 million readers, and the monthly Readerís Digest, with a circulation of 15.1 million copies.

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