Complaints against NBC in D.C.; Mention about Jackson bashing


Staff member
September 3, 2004

Licenses of Two D.C. TV Stations Challenged
by Stuart Shepard, correspondent

TV outlets in the nation's capital are hit with a series of indecency complaints and the FCC is asked to delay their license renewals.

A national media watchdog group is taking two major TV stations to task for broadcasting material it says was indecent. If it can get the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the action could have national impact.

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has filed more than 35 indecency complaints against two Washington, D.C., television stations–one a Fox affiliate and one an NBC affiliate.

"NBC thought it would be funny to air a comedy skit about pedophilia, regarding Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin," said Lara Mahaney, PTC's spokeswoman. "And we also had in incident with . . . sexual behavior with an animal on Fox."

Mahaney said nearly all the complaints are still waiting for a decision.

"In the next couple months their licenses are up for renewal," Mahaney said. "So we've asked the FCC to not renew their license until they rule on our indecency complaints."

WTTG-TV, the Fox affiliate, did not respond to a request for an interview. The NBC station, WRC-TV, would only offer a boilerplate statement that trumpeted the station's "long history of providing quality programming and valuable services."

Every seven years, during a lengthy license-renewal process, a television station must show that it's done a good job serving the community. Local stations, not the networks, are accountable for the programming, because they actually broadcast the shows.

Daniel Weiss, media and sexuality analyst at Focus on the Family, said if the FCC would only act, it would grab the attention of every network affiliate.

"We've seen these networks acting with impunity for far too long," Weiss said. "For broadcasters their, license is their life. The license is their business. If they lose that, they've lost everything. And no one is going to jeopardize their (own) ability to do business."

TAKE ACTION: Broadcast indecency is something the FCC should take seriously. You can use the CitizenLink Action Center to communicate to the FCC the importance of taking a firm stance against indecent broadcasting.