Groups Caution Against Rubber-Stamp Renewals

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Three media reform groups have written FCC Chairman Kevin Martin cautioning the FCC against "rubber stamp" license renewals.

The Campaign Legal Center, Benton Foundation, and the United Church of Christ  pointed to a comment by FCC Media Bureau Chief Donna Gregg that expediting the licensing process would be a focus of the bureau.

The groups argued that the eight-year "post-card" renewal process is already of "diminishing credibility."

They pointed to recent petitions to deny renewals filed by Iowans for Better Local Television, Milwaukee Public Interest Coalition, and Chicago Media Action, and said it would be "irresponsible for the FCC to further 'streamline' [the] process."

At a Dec. 14 speech to The Media Institute in Washington, the new Media Bureau Chief talked of expediting the licensing process.

The FCC has issued a number of  license renewals over the past several weeks, many with admonitions and even fines for violations of the FCC's kids-TV rules.