The FCC's denial of CMA's petition to deny the licenses of nine Chicago tv stations was featured in Bob Feder's column in the "Chicago Sun-Times" twice over the past week!
Thursday June 14th:
Off the hook
FCC clears TV stations in license challenges over election coverage
Nine television stations in Chicago are off the hook despite complaints about inadequate election coverage.
On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission turned down a petition to deny the stations' license renewals filed by a media reform group.
Stations targeted by Chicago Media Action were CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2; NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and WSNS-Channel 44; ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7; Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9; Weigel-owned WCIU-Channel 26; Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and WPWR-Channel 50, and Pax-owned WCPX-Channel 38.
All were cited for allegedly failing to air sufficient coverage of state and local elections in 2004.
In rejecting the claim, the FCC said it had "very little authority to interfere with a licensee's selection and presentation of news and editorial programming."
The FCC also turned down a similar complaint Wednesday against 11 Milwaukee stations.
And Tuesday, June 19th:
TRACKING: 'PATHETIC IN PRACTICE'
• A media reform group that challenged the license renewals of nine Chicago television stations expressed disappointment in the Federal Communications Commission's action last week.
The FCC turned down petitions by Chicago Media Action, which cited the stations for allegedly failing to serve the public interest by inadequately covering state and local elections in 2004.
"The FCC mandate to serve the public interest is laudable in theory but pathetic in practice," the group said in a statement. "For one, how to serve the 'public interest' has never been formally defined -- so that any dismal media or policy can be construed as 'serving the public interest' in the absence of any overarching public policy standard.
"The challenges to the FCC and the major media in Chicago and beyond will continue both within the policy circles and in the court of public opinion."
Petitions were filed against CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2; NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and WSNS-Channel 44; ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7; Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9; Weigel-owned WCIU-Channel 26; Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and WPWR-Channel 50, and Pax-owned WCPX-Channel 38.
(Find more coverage in "Broadcast Engineering" here and "Broadcasting & Cable" here. Read CMA's statement on the FCC's denial of our petition here.)
Posted by Scott Sanders, Chicago Media Action
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