Radio license challenges mounted in West Palm, Asheville


Clear Channel Radio’s talker WJNO-AM West Palm Beach FL has been deemed unworthy of its broadcast license by a watchdog organization which does not care for the predominant ideological slant of the station’s talent lineup. And in Asheville NC, a noncommercial FM is undergoing a similar challenge from a disgruntled ad hoc committee unhappy with the station’s program choices.

Media Action Center is the organization taking on WJNO, claiming that the station runs to the conservative side of matters 90% of the time despite broadcasting to an audience that MAC says is predominately Democratic. MAC charges that by bringing Rush Limbaugh and other like-minded talkers into the market without counterbalancing viewpoints, WJNO is “…effectively silencing the progressive voice in
West Palm Beach, thereby denying the majority of the community its First Amendment rights to exercise free speech over the publicly owned airwaves.”

The Asheville station is WCQS-FM, licensed to Western North Carolina Public Radio. An NPR affiliate, it has had its license challenged by the Ad-Hoc Committee for Responsible Public Radio, according to an article in The Asheville Citizen-Times.

The Committee is headed by a former public radio employee who believes that the station is in violation of the Public Broadcasting Act due to its failure to have a community advisory board a few years back, and notes that the one it then put together is tightly controlled by station management.

The station counters that it has responded to the allegations to the FCC with the professional legal assistance and expects to prevail and earn its license renewal.

The article notes that Flaxman has his own program that he has been unsuccessful in getting on the station, and one of the people on his committee has a show that was cut by the station. WNCPR suggests that they may be using the license renewal process to forward their own radio programming issues.

RBR-TVBR observation: The FCC has almost nothing to say about programming, unless it’s indecent – and even that has been thrown into doubt of late – so it is the strongest of likelihoods that neither of these challenges will go anywhere.