Actually public ownership of the airwaves is still very important. If the government did not have the ability to regulate the airwaves I’d be able to try and use say, the same frequency your cell phone uses to broadcast some totally different content that might cause all cell phones in the area to not work.
Or I might decide as the owner of 105.7 FM that I want to take over the entire 105-108 range and just try to overpower my competitor’s frequencies.
No, the airwaves are a public good because there is true scarcity there and because there is no clear means for normal private ownership (like there is with gold or timber.) Some frequencies are more desirable than others, but the ones that are desirable are still worth hundreds of millions to billions of dollars as evidenced by recent frequency auctions.
It’s in the nature of the airwaves that there needs to be rules in place to make sure things aren’t interfering with one another. The only natural regulator is government. If the airwaves weren’t viewed as a public property then there would be no guarantees whatsoever that the public could even use them.
That’s all irrelevant though. The SCOTUS can’t issue a ruling saying that the airwaves are no longer public property, that’s outside the scope of their power as deciding such things is clearly in the legislature’s sphere. I’d go so far as to say if the SCOTUS tried to rule the airwaves should no longer be viewed as a public property, the legislature would pass new legislation re-emphasizing the public ownership of the airwaves and then they would pass legislation prohibiting the SCOTUS from hearing cases about the public airwaves, which would prevent any further disruption. This would pass with large bipartisan support on both sides of the aisle for a wide range of reasons.
So with that being said, in the real world where the airwaves are public property and will remain public property, precedent has shown that the FCC does have the authority to put some limited amounts of regulation on the content of what goes over the public airwaves.
I personally am against any sort of morality censorship, but I don’t think it is unconstitutional, because the constitution has always had restrictions on speech. I have a right to free speech, but I don’t have a right to go into a public building, interrupt a court proceeding and strip down naked and start singing Ave Maria through a megaphone. That violates decency standards (both for the nudity and my singing voice), as well as interrupting a court proceeding and denying the public proper use of the public facility for its intended purpose. So there is pretty much obvious precedent even aside from the decades of actual precedent for the FCC regulating the airwaves, for the government regulating speech in certain circumstances on public land.
As for Roberts argument, he’s obviously making a nanny-state parent of small children argument to which I’m intrinsically opposed. Last I checked Chief Justice John Roberts hasn’t come out as a member of the Cato Society or an Austrian School Economist or any other form of die hard libertarian, so I don’t know why anyone would expect his primary concerns would be the free hand of the market.
In truth as a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court I wouldn’t want him to be concerned with the free hand of the market but instead the constitution of the United States. I also wouldn’t want him to be concerned with what he personally wants his kids to see on TV, but with the constitutionality of the FCC regulating what his kids can see on public TV. As it is, while I think his motivation is wrong, I think he’s legally correct that it is constitutional and thus a matter for the legislature to resolve.