FCC Grants Media General License Renewals

WBTW Florence, S.C.; WRBL Columbus, Ga.; WMBB-TV Panama City, Fla., Get Renewals

The Federal Communications Commission granted license renewals to three Media General stations for which it also recently granted waivers of its newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule.

In doing so, the commission denied challenges to those licenses filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Free Press and Common Cause South Carolina.

Getting the license renewals were WBTW Florence, S.C.; WRBL Columbus, Ga.; and WMBB-TV Panama City, Fla., where Media General also owns the Morning News, the Opelika-Auburn News and the Jackson County Floridian, respectively.

The FCC said the license challenge was mooted by its Dec. 18 decision to loosen the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules. At the same time as that decision, it granted permantent waivers to Media General in each of those markets.

The commission also concluded that the stations had been operating in the public interest and had not committed any serious rule violations in deciding to renew the licenses.

The FCC approval came only hours after Common Cause and others filed a challenge to that Dec. 18 decision with the FCC, including asking the commission to rescind the Media General waivers.