Larry Smith, a Native American radio host, has withdrawn his petition to deny the license renewal for Fox’s KTTV in Los Angeles, reports B&C.
“The one-page filing did not provide a clue as to why, but the FCC’s dismissal of a similar complaint may have,” the story notes.
The report adds: “Smith was one of three Native Americans to join legal activist John Banzhaf in asking the FCC to deny the renewal over use of the term “Redskins” to refer to the Washington professional football team, which he said was indecent (profane) and might constitute hate speech or fighting words.”
Fox’s KTTV was targeted because its license came up for renewal on Dec. 1, putting a large-market station in play. The report notes that Los Angeles has a large Native American population.
The FCC dismissed Banzhaf’s challenge to radio station WWXX-FM, which signaled that the challenge to KTTV might also face difficulties, the piece adds.
B&C notes: “Because profanity is defined as sexual or excretory in nature, the bureau concluded in the WWXX case, it could not find the word profane. It also said the FCC did not have any rule against hate speech per se, but only speech that ‘is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action [“fighting words”] and is likely to incite or produce such action,’ and then [only if] a court says so first, which was not the case with ‘Redskins.’”