02.18.2005 12:00 AM
McCain Wants to Shorten License Terms, Step Up Renewal Scrutiny
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) former head of the Commerce Committee, has introduced a bill that would require the FCC to scrutinize stations' public service efforts more heavily at renewal time.
The measure also would reduce all station license terms from eight years to three, so stations would need to justify retaining their license more often. The measure would also require all the commissioners to review 5% of renewals and license applications, and not leave that to staff.
McCain said the measure would have a small impact on stations currently meeting their public interest obligations, but have "a large impact" on those that do not.
He cited a study he released by the Lear Center that McCain said indicates that television stations and networks are not doing enough political coverage. NAB disputes the findings, which it said "are clearly slanted to fall in line with the authors' predetermined conclusions."