In an unusual move, the Federal Communications Commission is holding a public forum on whether WWOR-TV should be able to retain its TV-station license.
In a notice late Friday, with all of the commissioners across the country in Seattle for another public hearing on media ownership, the FCC's Media Bureau said it would let the public weigh in and added that it had not yet decided whether the station, owned by News Corp., had "failed to provide a program service and adequately meet the needs of its northern New Jersey viewers."
That was the allegation made by the United Church of Christ and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, which also challenged the continuing waiver News Corp. received to operate TV stations and newspapers in the same market. News Corp. eventually got an extension of its two-year waiver, which was required when it bought the Chris-Craft stations, including WWOR-TV.
The FCC forum is scheduled for the evening of Nov. 28 at the Paul Robeson Campus Center on Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Newark, N.J.
The hearing was promised after the issue was raised by media consolidation critic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) in a hearing, and later in a private meeting with FCC chairman Kevin Martin, according to a Lautenberg staffer.
"I'm very pleased that they are going to hold the hearing," said Angela Campbell, who represented UCC and Rainbow/PUSH in the challenge to the license and the waiver. "It's important that the FCC hear from the people who are directly affected."
"We welcome the opportunity to showcase WWOR/My 9's commitment to the people and communities of New Jersey," said a News Corp. spokesperson.