PTC Pans FCC Decision on Indecency-Related Petition

Parents Television Council President Winter Unhappy with Federal Communications Commission's Ruling on KLRT-TV Little Rock, Ark.

It turns out that the petition to deny the license renewal of KLRT-TV Little Rock, Ark., over indecency issues that was rejected by the Federal Communications Commission Thursday was a long-standing complaint from the Parents Television Council -- the broadcast dates back to 2003.

PTC president Tim Winter took strong issue with the ruling, arguing that the FCC's decision appeared to be the rationalization for a foregone conclusion. The PTC had wanted the station's license pulled for the airing of alleged indecencies and profanities. But since they involved the Billboard Awards decision that a court remanded and a complaint against That 70s Show that is still pending, the FCC declined to designate the station's license for hearing.

The PTC also complained in the petition that there was no public correspondence on the complaints in the "complaints file" portion of its public-inspection file, but the FCC said the letters and comments just had to be in the file, not necessarily where PTC was looking for them.

That did not sit well with Winter, who responded to the FCC decision in an e-mail to B&C.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the ruling," he said, "but more troubling to us is the bureau’s rationale. They seemed to base the ruling on a desired conclusion and then simply rationalize to support that conclusion. The ruling’s tenor was such that the burden of proving whether or not the station did what is legally required of them was shifted from the broadcast licensee to the member of the public who registered an objection for what he saw (or, in this case, didn’t see when he viewed the file).

"The fact that the commission failed to communicate clearly with a station should have no bearing on what is placed into a station’s public-comment file," Winter added. "We now look forward to seeing how the bureau adjudicates the various other license objections that have been filed ".

The FCC had no comment at press time.