From my email inbox comes this announcement:

National Media Watchdog Files FCC Legal Challenge to
Pull Radio Licenses of WISN-AM and WTMJ-AM

MILWAUKEE, WI – A national media watchdog said it has filed official legal challenges with the Federal Communications Commission to deny radio licenses to Clear Channel’s WISN-AM and Journal Communications’ WTMJ-AM.

Details will be provided at a NEWS CONFERENCE on TUESDAY (Nov. 20) at 9:30 a.m. in front of WTMJ, 720 East Capitol Drive, in Milwaukee. Randy Bryce and members of Media Action Center (MAC) of Wisconsin will participate.

These legal challenges – unlike citizen petitions – can deny the stations’ right to broadcast to the greater community of Milwaukee, including Rep. Paul Ryan’s district. The FCC is expected to rule on the case by Dec. 1.

MAC will confirm at the news briefing that its decision to go to the FCC is based on a study during the Scott Walker Recall campaign that revealed WISN and WTMJ gave supporters of Gov. Walker an estimated $1 million in free airtime, while refusing any access to supporters of the other side, in a clear violation of federal law.

“The behavior of WISN and WTMJ shows clear political intent, which violates FCC rules, as well as a lack of character to hold a broadcasting license. The FCC must not renew those licenses and should award them to new operators,” said MAC director Sue Wilson in advance of the news conference.

To be honest, I’m not surprised by this complaint, because WISN and WTMJ have long been nothing more than willing mouthpieces for Gov. Scott Walker and any other Republican who wanted an open line to those two stations’ listeners.

Tagged with:

22 Responses to Media Action Center to file FCC challenge to WTMJ, WISN licenses

  1. […] Media Action Center to file FCC challenge to WTMJ, WISN licenses » Former Walker aide/gubernatorial campaign employee sentenced for felony conviction For […]

  2. John Casper says:


  3. Dan says:

    Does this have to do with the Zapple Doctrine?

    If the FCC rules in the favor of the MAC, does that expose every opinion based radio show, both left wing and right, to that same treatment? What about tv stations?

    This is very interesting but I am woefully ignorant when it comes to broadcast law.

    • John Casper says:

      Not familiar with the Zapple Doctrine. It also has to do with Journal Communications shareholders. Steve Smith (Chairman) is GAVE AWAY $1 million in advertising. When you can get the milk for free, why buy the cow?

  4. Michael BB says:

    Good. Push hard. Make the case with evidence from their own broadcasts. That ought to be enough.

  5. Charmaine says:

    Oh no! Conservatives can speak on the radio. Get over yourselfs. If you don’t like what they are saying, TURN OFF THE RADIO!

  6. Sue Wilson says:

    The point is that Charlie Sykes and the other four “Conservative” Talk Radio hosts in Milwaukee are using airwaves that belong to ALL the people in the community to promote just one political party during elections. The Supreme Court has said that broadcast corporations do not have the right to privately censor political speech. So we are standing up for the First Amendment rights of everyone in the community who are denied access to the scarce radio frequencies during campaigns.

    Charmaine, as to “just turn it off,” that’s a good talking point, I’ll bet you heard it on talk radio. But you tell me, why should only ONE political party be given access to the microphones during the 60 days prior to campaigns? That’s not just unAmerican, it’s against the rule of law.

    • Charmaine says:

      Buy your own radio station if you want Your voice on the radio. Should the Limbaugh letter have to have democrat point of views? No. Plenty of other radio waves you can get your hands on. Sorry 1290 doesn’t get as much publicity as 1130 and 620. It’s not Sykes or McKenna or weber or beilings fault that 1290 isn’t as popular. Should people wearing shirts protesting Scott walker have to give space to pro Scott walker supporters on their shirts?

      • John Casper says:

        Charmaine, thanks for the inspired defense of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, I’m sure Ms. Jackson is appreciative. Unfortunately, the issue is the taxpayer supported FCC transmission lines/airwaves. Sykes and the rest don’t own those.

      • Sue Wilson says:

        Congratulations, Charmaine, you have just identified the problem. Can you name a radio station that is for sale anywhere in Wisconsin? I bet you cannot, because the big corporations that snapped them up in 1996 aren’t willing to sell (except, perhaps for a few tiny stations, too small to make into a business.) And there are no more frequencies available a person to start a new station anywhere in the USA. That’s the scarcity issue I referred to earlier.

        If you really want to debate me, you should at least take the time to read the petitions.

      • Charmaine, your comment shows a stunning lack of knowledge about the PUBLIC AIRWAVES.

        Yes, that’s right – they’re the public airwaves owned by the public. Radio stations don’t own their airwaves; they license them from the FCC. As such, certain conditions are attached to those licenses. Your comparison to people wearing shirts espousing a certain political view being forced to give equal space to the opposing viewpoints is flawed because the shirts in question aren’t publicly owned, as is the case with our airwaves.

  7. Aaron Rodriguez says:

    Radio stations aren’t not a scarce commodity like they were in the 20s. The argument is flawed from the outset.

    • John Casper says:

      Aaron, what stations are for sale in Wisconsin?

      • Jake formerly of the LP says:

        And what frequencies are available, may I ask? If there are any, can you give me $500K to buy it, since I’m a bit short this month? We all can’t be wingnut welfare token types like you, you know.

  8. Aaron Rodriguez says:

    Love the double negatives.

  9. prairie says:

    I understand that it is easy to say let’s shut down conservative talk radio. Clearly the content of these shows is slanted to one side and provides benefits during elections. However, there are media outlets on both sides. Do you also support the same actions against left-leaning talk radio and/or TV. Would we want the government or lawsuits delving into shows that are not specifically opinion, but appear to be slanted to one side or the other. I just think this is a very difficult area and definitely could be detrimental to free speach. I am surprised more people on both sides aren’t a little more concerned about it, or at least have some ambivalence about the implications.

    I understand the public airwaves issue, I just think it is so difficult to look at the content of everything on the public airwaves and try to make sure it is all down the middle.

    • Michael BB says:

      Conservative talk radio is not the problem. The mandate from the FCC is about those very interesting words that FOX still uses, Fair and Balanced. It may be difficult to look at the content of everything on the public airwaves, but that actually is precisely the FCC’s job.
      The under-lying, pun intended, issue is that the Two Americas do not operate from a common set of facts. If the FCC has any clout, it ought to be used to establish the rule of fact. If progressive media, such as the old AirAmerica, Current TV, or MSNBC, uses distortions of documented events and policies, they are off base as well. BUT, wait a minute, only ONE of these is using the public airwaves, Air America, and they are OFF the air. I wonder why? Not enough money in it, I suppose.
      More and more Republicans are beginning to see that Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Coulter, etc, are doing WAY more harm than good to the political fortunes of the party they claim to champion. The ONLY reason FOX and Rush are still going is MONEY, the MONEY they make for RL and Rupert the Media Mogul. As ever more GOP-ers realize they are being played for financial gain, and electoral losses, the fascination with Yeah, Rush, Sean, Ann, You Tell’em will diminish. A license challenge is just what the Fair and Balanced Doctors should order. MBB

      • Jake formerly of the LP says:

        Exactly right Michael- You can have conservative talk radio on the air, but you can’t have ONLY conservative talk radio in markets, and you can’t have these people be allowed to lie and bait with impunity. And that’s the case in much of Wisconsin, with local news crews being decimated as well, leading to right-wing “analysis” combined with naive reporters giving “both sides” journalism that fails to call out WisGOP lies. The average person has no clue other than what they’re given on the air, so it’s no surprise they’d be susceptible to being suckered by people like Scott Walker as a result. And WisGOP knows it.

        And the bloodbath at WTDY makes it worse, as Sly was a needed voice against the madness and TDY news was one of the few full-staff local news crews in the state. It is time to take back the airwaves, and the Media Action Center’s work this week is a great first step, as it exposes the one-sidedness of Milwaukee AM blowtorches.

        If we aren’t allowed air time, we’ll take to the streets and make you have to notice. Don’t think we won’t.

  10. @ Zach Wisniewskin NO it is you that shows a stunning lack of knowlege of law or broadcast regulations, but you are not alone there. Sue shows a stunning lack of knowlege of both constitutional law and Broadcast regulations. The FCC also regulates the internet, is it your contention that they can regulate the content of the internet. I have been through the public files and didn’t see yours or Sue’s name on the ownership papers anywhere.
    <a href=";

  11. @ Dan

    Don’t worry Dan so is Sue. The FCC has already told Sue that porgram content has nothing to do with licensing. She is just rewording a dead issue. From the FCC

    “For the Zapple Doctrine to be invoked, the supporters of the opposing candidate would have to specifically ask the station for air time. If the station refused, the supporters could then appeal to the FCC, but no such Zapple complaint has been made in at least eight years. Therefore, there was no violation of the Zapple Doctrine by the stations here, and even if there were, that would not be a basis for the denial of a license renewal, since programming has nothing to do with licensing in the first place.”
    <a href=";

  12. LOL Sorry Sue wrong again. Want to buy a station, Disney is selling one in the market that you want, have at it and good luck.

    Want a radio station in Milwaukee? Here’s your chance: Variety reports that Radio Disney is putting its Milwaukee station, WKSH/1640 (Sussex), and six other mid-sized market stations up for sale. Radio Disney will retain its stations in the top 25 markets, including KDIZ/1440 (Golden Valley-Minneapolis). WKSH uses 10kW day and 1kW night, non-directional. (6/4/2013)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *