Eshoo Bill Would Cut License Terms To Three Years


Media consolidation critic Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced a bill this week to toughen broadcasters' public interest obligations and reduce their license terms from eight years to three.

The move followed the FCC's own proposal to look into how it might toughen its own license renewal and public interest obligation enforcement process, though that did not include cutting the license terms. It also followed the FCC's vote to loosen the newspaper-broadcast crossownership ban.

In annoucing the bill, Eshoo said the combination of such deregulation with "rubber-stamped postcard license renewals" had led to the "degradation of television and radio programming."

Eshoo's Broadcast Licensing in the Public Interest Act would spell out specific public interest requirements, including showing a "dedication to civic affairs," local programming, coverage of candidates and issues, and provide educational children's programming. 

"The three-year term will bring greater oversight and scrutiny to license renewals," she said in announcing the bill.