A Tough Week for CBS

Washington—First the Rather apology, then the Jackson fine, now the Parents Television Council has filed an FCC complaint against CBS over an "audible f-word" in a Sept. 17 broadcast of Big Brother.
"At a time when CBS affiliates have been handed a record fine of $550,000 by the FCC, one would think CBS would acknowledge the law and abide by it," said the group. CBS declined comment.

NBC got a dressing-down but no fine from the FCC earlier this year for Bono's use of the f-word on a Golden Globes broadcast. It was a reversal from an earlier finding that the f-word was not indecent as an adjective. Since that reversal, however, broadcasters have been on notice that profanity, regardless of the part of speech, is in the regulatory crosshairs. PTC has begun going after station licenses for indecency complaints it feels the FCC has been too slow to address.

News Corp. Fights for WWOR

Washington—News Corp. last week asked the FCC to drop an order to divest the company's second TV station in the New York market and let it keep the station permanently. News Corp. acquired WWOR Secaucus, N.J., when it bought 10 Chris-Craft stations in 2001. Because News Corp. also owns the New York Post, the FCC said the deal violates its ban on local TV/newspaper crossownership and gave the company until July 2003 to sell WWOR. Since then, News Corp. has retained the station while a temporary waiver request is pending.

FTC Posts Inch to Senate OK

Washington—Federal Trade Commission members Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz await full Senate confirmation after getting the nod from the Senate Commerce Committee. The two were sworn in while Congress was on break in August. White House "recess appointments" allow officials to take office without congressional confirmation but only through the end of the next Congress— in this case, 2005. Full confirmation would allow Majoras, now FTC chairman, to serve through 2008. Leibowitz could serve through 2011.