Could FCC Edicts Jeopardize 24/7 Programming?
January 18, 2008 at 5:44 AM (PT)
While most of the media focus is on the FCC's DEC. 18th vote to allow limited cross-ownership, and Democratic Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS gripes about private equity station deals, a report being commissioned by the Commission could cause far more challenges for radio stations on the local level.
According to a story on the SEATTLE PI website, a FCC news release on that report proposes that stations "set up permanent community advisory boards," and that stations validate a certain amount of local programming as part of the "renewal application processing" procedure. "We tentatively conclude that all broadcasters must air a certain amount of local programming," FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN said in his statement.
"It wasn't that long ago that many stations signed off late at night.
What's not specified is exactly how much local programming radio stations must air -- and exactly what constitutes "local programming." Is it local news and traffic reports? Local music shows? A certain number of air shifts manned by local on-air talent?
The FCC's vagueness on this issue troubles GREATER MEDIA's PETER SMYTH, who took the FCC to task in his own column (NET NEWS 1/15). The SEATTLE PI story also quoted a more troubling scenario, courtesy of WASHINGTON STATE ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS Pres. MARK ALLEN, "It wasn't that long ago that many stations signed off late at night," the story noted. "ALLEN says he's heard from some members that if the FCC requires studio staffing at all hours the station is on the air, they might go back to that pattern."