Some thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Media Action license challenge

Posted by Mitchell - November 1, 2015 (entry 714)

On November 1st, 2005, Chicago Media Action — along with the Milwaukee Public Interest Media Coalitionfiled a petition-to-deny license challenge against eight Chicago-area television stations. Unbelievable as it may sound, today marks the tenth anniversary of that petition, and even more unbelievable, the petition is still alive.

You may follow the links to the history of the back-and-forth of the petition, its rejections, and its appeals, here. On January 10, 2011, we filed our fifth appeal before the full Federal Communications Commission. The current status is that this appeal is still awaiting action from the full commission, which hasn't moved on this in four, almost five, years.

Sad to say, and not surprising given the FCC's history, FCC staff simply don't care about citizen petitions, they're under no obligation to respond anytime soon, and we have precious little influence to goad them to act.

It has been so long since the license challenge filing that the group serving as CMA's counsel for the filing, the Media Access Project, has formally dissolved since the filing.

It has been so long that many people are apt to respond, why even care anymore? After all, broadcast television no longer holds the sway that it did a decade ago, given changing economic times and the rise of internet video and social media. There are lots of reasons to care, not the least of which is the value that monopoly broadcast licenses still hold, even in the wake of all these changes, and the influence that broadcast television still has on public awareness and on public opinion. Any inroads, however small, into that proverbial Chinese Wall can only be for the better.

We encourage the FCC to stop procrastinating and to respond to our petition.

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