Monday, October 11, 2004

Get to Work

Steve Soto tells us what we can do about Sinclair.

But what isn't done a lot which requires the broadcaster to rack up expensive legal fees, is to challenge every one of their affiliates' FCC license renewals as they come up this year and next.

The FCC rules state that anyone who has an interest, presumably a local interest, in the renewal of a TV license may file either an informal objection or a more formal petition that must meet specific requirements. Note that Petitions to Deny are required to be filed with the FCC one month in advance of the station’s license expiration date. According to the FCC’s schedule of station expiration dates by state, any move to file Petitions to Deny or objections in advance of the station’s license expiration date are already too late to be accepted for Sinclair stations in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia, as the expiration date has passed and the file has closed. However, note that there still is time to organize and file Petitions or objections by November 1, 2004 for Sinclair stations in North Carolina and South Carolina, and for Florida by January 1, 2005.

Bloggers could link up with local media law attorneys of like mind in each of these Sinclair affiliate towns to gather informal objections and formal petitions challenging the renewal of these Sinclair licenses, which would then be forwarded to the FCC for inclusion in the station's renewal file at least one month prior to the license expiration date for consideration at the time of the upcoming license renewals this year and in 2005-2007. For example, here are the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida stations with upcoming license expirations, for which objections and petitions must be filed by November 1, 2004 for the Carolina stations, and by January 1, 2005 for the Florida stations.

North Carolina:

South Carolina:


I have no illusions that the FCC and Michael Powell may actually reject some Sinclair licenses over this, but the commission would have a hard time ignoring a station's application for renewal if each file had hundreds or thousands of letters of complaint or petitions on file. Plus, Sinclair would have to defend each one and incur the legal costs of doing so.

People in the right markets in NC and SC, especially laywers who know what they're doing, get started...

...SinclairWatch makes it easy.