In Re RENEWALS OF BROADCAST LICENSES FOR NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH CAROLINA
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
39 F.C.C.2d 482
DECEMBER 20, 1972
[*482] Staff action of December 6, 1972 reviewing Broadcast licenses for North Carolina and South Carolina, approved.
DISSENT TO NORTH CAROLINA-SOUTH CAROLINA BROADCAST LICENSE RENEWALS BY COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS-JOHNSON.
Commissioner Nicholas Johnson has dissented to the license renewals of North Carolina and South Carolina radio and television stations, taken in an FCC staff action of December 6, 1972. The dissent is attached.
DISSENTING OPINION OF COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS JOHNSON
Today the Federal Communications Commission again reveals that it is oblivious to the interests of the public. The majority refuses to question the fact that several of the stations owned by its licensees (this time in the North and South Carolina renewal group) propose news, public affairs, and other non-entertainment programming which fall woefully below the most meager of standards.
Four of this group's 297 AM radio stations and three of its television stations propose to program less than 5% news each week. Seven AM stations and one TV station (the same UHF station which refuses to program more than 1% news) proposed to broadcast less than 5% in the combined category of public affairs and other non-entertainment programming.
Im am not certain where the majority gets this last category. Back in 1968 former Commissioner Kenneth Cox and I suggested that the FCC should have serious questions about whether broadcast stations are serving the public interest when they program less than 5% news, 1% public affairs, and 5% "other" non-entertainment programming. The majority disagreed; apparently, no station's programming decisions can raise public interest questions insofar as this majority is concerned.
Be that as it may, neither Commissioner Cox nor I ever referred to the "combined category of public affairs and other non-entertainment programming." Today, the Commission, in introducing that category, fails to make public the number of stations in this renewal [*483] group which will fail to broadcast even 5% of non-entertainment programming other than news and public affairs.
I suppose, however, that a Commission which is not going to do anything about its licensees' stubborn refusals to serve the public interest, is also not going to be concerned with details.