No right to face time with commissioners


FCC Commissioners / May 2012The FCC intercedes in many cases over the course of time, and of course when two parties are in disagreement and equally convinced of the justice of their cause, the FCC can only pick one. It does not, however, have to make the chairman and the commissioners available to petitioners who wish to take their case right to the top.

At issue were failed applications for AM stations by Fireside Media in Larga Vista TX and Pass Christian VT, and for Jet Fuel Broadcasting in Winooski VT.

The applications were denied for failure to meet deadlines; grants of a waivers allowing the applicant to get out of applicable fees and other fees pertaining to a Freedom of Information Act were denied, and petitions seeking reconsideration were deemed procedurally defective.

A 9/21/12 petition from Fireside/Jet Fuel managed to convey much of its disappointment right in the lengthy title: “Request for Rescinding of Illegal FCC Order 12-94, With Reinstatement Before Chairman and Commissioners for Fair Hearing, Inclusive of Allowance for Heretofore Denied Conferencing Opportunity for Appellant With the Chairman and Each Commissioner — Given Egregious Issues of Agency Misconduct, Error and Retaliation Against Appellant that Appellant Must Be Able to Address Directly With Commissioners to Guarantee Any Semblance of a Fair Hearing.”

The FCC noted that the petition was simply a rehashing of earlier arguments which had already been considered and ruled upon. It also affirmed that there is no right to a meeting with the commissioners or chairman.

The FCC went one giant step further – it threatened serious retaliation should the complainants continue to pursue this effort.

The FCC stated, “As an additional matter, we note that Fireside’s pleadings have been notably repetitious and lacking in merit. We have recently imposed sanctions on a party for filing frivolous pleadings where the pleadings were ‘based on arguments that have been specifically rejected by the Commission’ or otherwise had ‘no plausible basis for relief.’ If Fireside continues to file pleadings of this nature, we authorize OGC to refer matters to the Enforcement Bureau to consider whether to impose sanctions on Fireside for filing frivolous pleadings, including a possible forfeiture.”

Fireside/Jet Fuel may not have gotten face time with the current residents of the FCC 8th Floor, but it did get there attention. Here is the conclusion of the FCC document on the matter:

“The officials responsible for this action are: Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai.”