A state senator and several community organizations have asked the FCC to reject WWOR-TV’s (Channel 9) application for a license renewal unless the station improves its coverage of New Jersey.
“Channel 9 is based in New Jersey; it’s time for the FCC to make sure it covers New Jersey," Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-NJ, said at a public forum at Rutgers University. “If the FCC renews Channel 9’s license, it needs to get tough and make certain that New Jersey gets the news coverage it needs and deserves.”
To retain its license, the station should commit to keeping its news department and production studios in New Jersey, identify itself as a New Jersey station, and meet specific, measurable goals for its coverage in the state, Lautenberg said.
Supporters of the station, including leaders of several other community groups, said that Channel 9, the only major commercial station licensed in the state, has been a valuable asset and deserves to be licensed for an additional eight years.
The battle over the renewal is centered on a 1982 agreement engineered by former Sen. Bill Bradley, in which the station’s previous owner was allowed to retain its license only if the station would move its studio and offices to New Jersey from New York.
Opponents claim that although WWOR is licensed in Secaucus, its coverage is more focused on New York. Until Tuesday, even the logo on its Web site was “My 9 New York,” several speakers said.
WWOR, whose license expired on June 1, is owned by Fox Television Stations, which also owns Channel 5.
Since 2001, WWOR has invested $12 million in capital improvements in its Secaucus broadcast studios, which employs 250 people.