Friday, November 9, 2007

FCC fines KNEW, KSJO $10,000 each

The FCC has rejected a challenge to the renewal of four Bay Area radio station licenses held by Clear Channel by a politically liberal youth organization which objected to Michael Savage's (left) program on KNEW-AM.

Youth Media Council made numerous claims against the stations including the assertion that Savage and former KNEW host Jeff Katz "consistently stereotype and advocate violence against undocumented workers, Muslims, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons" and that the station encourages “physical violence as a solution to social problems.” The group held protests outside KNEW's San Francisco studios, demanding management remove conservative shows from the air.

Youth Media Council complained that the stations had excluded local musicians from its airwaves, provided insufficient public affairs programming, broadcast indecent programming, disproportionately focused on crime and violence, and lacked an emergency preparedness plan.

The council also objected to the hiring of Rick Delgado on KYLD and Bill O'Reilly on KNEW. And it complained that KMEL fired talk show host "Davey D" supposedly because he interviewed Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee about her vote opposing the war in Afghanistan.

While the FCC renewed the licenses of Clear Channel's KSJO-FM 92.3, KNEW-AM 910, KYLD-FM "Wild 94.5" and KMEL-FM 106.1 it fined:
    • KSJO $10,000 for failing to disclose in its renewal application a previous FCC fine, and

    • KNEW $10,000 because its public file was missing certain required documents when members of the Youth Media Council visited the station.
Here's a link to the 23-page FCC decision.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the FCC had pulled their license for what Savage had said, that would be censorship. I'm not defending Savage, but our right to not be censored by the government includes objectionable speech, not just the speech we agree with.

Anonymous said...

when it comes to license renewals the scales are tipped in favor of the broadcaster ... there used to be a long process of community needs acertainment, where the station would find out what the public wants on the air, and then it would air programs to meet those needs. ... today license renewal is just returning a post card from the fcc ...

Anonymous said...

Michael Savage isn't a regular person- he's a broadcaster whose station was given a license to servie the public interest. If his hateful rhetoric harms the public, then it needs to be addressed. censorship isn't the issue, balance, accuracy, and ethical journalism is. Broadcasters have an increased burden to provide accurate information that causes no unnecessary harm to audiences, particularly those in its broadcast area.

Michael Savage can say what he wants, but if KNEW wants a license to drive, it better follow the rules of the road.

Anonymous said...

The FCC never moves against a station because of the comments of the on air talent, unless they use an obsenity in which case they'll fine the station.

On the other hand you can almost always find some failing in the public file, so if activists want to bring some heat to a station that's a great place to start.

I was part of such an effort against KALW more than ten years ago. We found numerous errors in the public file. The heat brought to the San Francisco Unified School District forced the board to fight to retain the station and had the salutary effect of getting them to take the station seriously and improve its programming and management.