FCC Rejects Call for Chicago Stations’ License Denial

Dec 13, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission today rejected Third Coast Press’ attempt to halt the license renewal of all 18 Chicago market TV stations, saying the progressive newspaper didn’t prove its charge that the stations have been “systematically negligent” in serving the public service.

The publication filed its petition to deny a year ago, contending that the stations had provided inadequate public affairs coverage and children’s programming and that they had engaged in “hypercommercialism.” It also argued that the stations had emphasized “police actions, crime and celebrity trivia” in newscasts over information that would promote debate on important issues, particularly the Iraq war, and had aired few news programs featuring African American commentators.

The petition “contains statements of opinion as opposed to the specific allegations of facts necessary to make out a prima facie case that any of the licensees have failed to serve the public interest,” Barbara Kreisman, chief of the media bureau, said in a letter to the group. She added that acting on the news programming would force the FCC to “improperly interfere with the programming decisions of the licensees” and violate the First Amendment.

Third Coast’s phone number isn’t listed and its officials did not immediately return an e-mail request for comment.