FCC Affirms Deletion Of NJ Translator, Rejects Challenges To WISN, WTMJ Licenses
May 8, 2014 at 6:25 PM (PT)
The FCC has affirmed the Media Bureau's grant of NEW JERSEY PUBLIC BROADCASTING AUTHORITY's voluntary request to cancel the license of W276BX/POMPTON LAKES, NJ over the application for review by MARIANA BROADCASTING, INC., licensee of Oldies WGHT-A/POMPTON LAKES. MARIANA claimed that it had a deal with NJPBA to rebroadcast WGHT on the translator, but the Commission noted that as of the date of filing of the appeal, MARIANA did not have such an agreement. "As the Bureau has noted," the decision said, "notwithstanding MARIANA’s rhetoric, the Commission cannot force NJPBA to take back the station authorization and operate the translator."
The Commission also rejected challenges by liberal activist SUE WILSON and MEDIA ACTION CENTER to the license renewals of JOURNAL Talk WTMJ-A/MILWAUKEE and CLEAR CHANNEL (CAPSTAR TX LLC) Talk WISN-A/MILWAUKEE, based on the stations' refusal to grant them equal time to respond to comments made on the air in support of Republican WISCONSIN Governor SCOTT WALKER. The decision noted that the complaints went to programming choices rather than First Amendment claims, and that "the Commission cannot exercise any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions." The challengers also claimed that the ZAPPLE doctrine requires equal time when a spokesperson for a candidate appeared on the air, but the Commission responded that the ZAPPLE doctrine was dependent on enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine, which is no longer in effect.