Broadcast Complaints Spike at FCC


Complaints to the Federal Communications Commission over broadcast-station
practices spiked 65% during the second quarter of 2003 from the first three
months of the year, climbing from 439 to 724.

The number was spiked by increases in indecency complaints and complaints generated by a write-in
campaign urging TV stations in Richmond, Va., to provide real-time
closed-captioning of live news broadcasts.

The 1,163 complaints logged through the first half of the year were more than
two-and-a-half times the 441 tallied through the first half of 2002.

Organized-complaint campaigns regarding both indecency and disability issues
contributed to the rise in year-to-year comparisons.

The numbers were reported Friday by the FCC's Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau.

Cable complaints fell from 308 during the first quarter to 273 in the second
quarter, with most cable categories experiencing modest declines.

The most common cable complaints regarded billing and service problems.

Across the FCC's stable of regulated industries, complaints within top
categories were generally lower during the second quarter than the first quarter
but higher than 2002's second quarter.

Broadcasting inquiries rose from 4,681 to 6,014 from first-quarter to second-quarter
2003 due largely to a surge in media-ownership-policy inquiries.

Cable inquiries dipped from 5,190 to 4,818.