Throughout 2005, CMA has been calling attention to the impending expiration of all of the broadcast licenses of all of the over-the-air TV stations in Illinois -- thus opening an opportunity for action which comes around only once every eight years.
CMA had also announced the possibility that it might file a "petition to deny" -- a formal regulatory action with the Federal Communications Commission, where CMA asks the FCC to deny the license renewal of one or more Chicago-area TV stations for systematically neglecting to serve the public interest (even though the free eight-year-long broadcast licenses at issue grant monopoly broadcast privileges valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars).
Today, we can confirm that, on November 1, 2005, CMA has indeed filed a petition to deny, along with attorneys at the Media Access Project (a Washington DC telecommunications law firm) who served as legal counsel for this action.
The petition calls into question the broadcast licenses of NINE Chicago-area TV stations -- WBBM, WMAQ, WLS, WGN, WCIU, WFLD, WCPX, WSNS and WPWR.
The lynchpin of the petition is a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, which examined local electoral coverage in Illinois for the 2004 electoral campaign. The study confirms the systematic negligence of a key obligation of public service -- local election coverage in an election year.
The petition and all related documentation is here. The press release is here. Contact CMA if you have any questions.
Press Coverage: Free Press | MediaChannel | Broadcasting & Cable: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ] | Chicago Indymedia | Communications Daily | Crain's Chicago Business | TV Week | Current.org | Benton Foundation | Chicago Sun-Times: [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] | SpeakSpeak News | Media Giraffe Project | Chicago Reader | FAIR's CounterSpin | On The Media | Chicago Daily Herald | The Illinois Editorial Forum | Rock River Times | The Star (Southland Chicago area) | Southwest News-Herald | Roll Call | Trenton Sun
And there's more: The Chicago-based community newspaper and website Third Coast Press has filed an FCC petition as well. Read more.
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