Johnson had recently released a book, "How to Talk Back to Your Television Set". Topics of conversation include the history and role of advertising in television and radio programming, and how advertising revenue influences the media. Emphasis is placed on cigarette advertising, which was particularly prevalent and controversial at the time of this interview.
Studs Terkel discusses television and advertising with Nicholas Johnson, Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. Johnson had recently delivered a speech in Dubuque, IA about possibilities for the future of broadcasting, and had released a book a year prior, "How to Talk Back to Your Television Set". Topics of conversation include censorship, the role of advertising and corporate sponsorship of radio and television, and the hope and promise of public television.