From its varied beginnings, public broadcasting has been shaped by a utopian impulse. Practitioners and academics, advocates and critics, politicians and policy analysts from across the political spectrum share in this utopian impulse when they imagine a future in which what we think of as "broadcasting" in general would be improved through the growth and development of "public broadcasting" in particular. Part of the impulse to imagine a better future for public broadcasting in the United States comes from a political tradition concerned with how a democracy organizes communication systems. The emphasis on "free speech" and a "free press" illustrates this traditional concern. Tradition holds that social groups and individuals will gain opportunities for expression and self-representation, for debating the common good, and for realizing collective goals if they have unfettered access to diverse information in a "marketplace of ideas." However, the development of communication systems in the United States did not result in a democratic or open marketplace of ideas; instead, the marketplace came to dominate the ideas. In this context, the turn to public broadcasting was one way to counter the domination of commercial interests in broadcasting. The move to establish noncommercial radio and television was seen as a way to restore the democratic potential of broadcasting to serve the interests of the public.