FCC Renews KFI/Los Angeles, KFBK/Sacramento Licenses, Rejects Challenges
July 14, 2015 at 12:45 PM (PT)
The FCC has renewed two prominent iHEARTMEDIA News-Talk stations' licenses and rejected challenges from parties alleging bias in programming.
ALEX NOGALES' NATIONAL HISPANIC MEDIA COALITION's long-running campaign against KFI-A/LOS ANGELES included a Petition to Deny the station's license renewal by alleging the airing of "hate speech" and raising the issue of afternoon hosts JOHN KOBYLT and KEN CHIAMPOU giving their spokesperson's phone number out over the air (a number which had been included in the NHMC's own press release). In rejecting the challenge, the Commission pointed out that it does not censor programming material under the First Amendment, and said that "hate speech" would be an issue only after a local court rules or evaluates the claim. The NHMC also raised ownership diversity issues, but did not show any violation of the existing rules to prompt consideration of rule changes; a claim of "news distortion" was rejected due to a failure to demonstrate intent.
KFBK-A/SACRAMENTO's license has been renewed over objections by ROGER SMITH and HARRY COWAN that the station "airs biased programming." COWAN also alleged that KFBK was not maintaining its public file, because he had sent a letter that he did not subsequently find in the file. iHEARTMEDIA responded that COWAN had not demonstrated enough evidence for it to determine whether it got the letter, and in any case the letter was not required to be in the file past three years. It also noted that the Commission does not intervene in the editorial discretion of licensees.