- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The United Church of Christ and a public interest legal group are urging federal regulators to reject a Spanish-language TV station’s application to renew its license, claiming the broadcaster isn’t airing quality children’s programming. It is the first time a Spanish-language TV station has had its license renewal challenged, according to Broadcasting & Cable, an industry trade magazine that reported the complaint last week. The church and the Georgetown Law Institute for Public Representation filed the complaints on Aug. 31 with the Federal Communications Commission against WQHS-TV (Channel 61), a Univision station in Cleveland. The church, which is based in Cleveland, and the legal group also filed complaints about the lack of quality children’s programming on WUAB-TV (Channel 43), that city’s UPN affiliate. The church began its campaign to link license renewals to children’s programming in September 2004, when it filed license-renewal challenges against two broadcasters in the Washington area: WDCA-TV (Channel 20), the UPN affiliate, and WPXW-TV (Channel 66), a Pax station. The FCC has not yet acted on those challenges. The complaint against the Univision station in Cleveland cites the teen-oriented telenovela “Complices al Rescate,” or “Accomplices to the Rescue,” calling it a program that fails to meet federal regulations that require broadcasters to air educational shows for children. “[I]t is a melodrama full of improbable situations and negative messages. It is a sorry excuse for the educational programming envisioned by Congress,” said Gloria Tristani, managing director of the United Church of Christ’s communications office and a Democrat who served on the FCC from 1997 until 2001. “The FCC needs to get serious about enforcing the children’s educational programming rules and ensure that the educational needs of all children, including Spanish-speaking children, are met,” she added. A Univision spokeswoman said the network “believes that it is in full compliance with all FCC regulations. The company is reviewing the complaint and will respond to the FCC shortly.” The FCC rarely revokes a broadcasting license. The Parents Television Council, a conservative media watchdog group, also filed petitions with the FCC last year, urging the agency to revoke the broadcast licenses of stations that have been cited for violating federal decency rules. Aerial protest It looks like the labor union in the middle of spirited negotiations with the corporate parent of ABC affiliate WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and NewsChannel 8 found an unusual way to raise awareness for its cause: It had an airplane carry a banner over Ocean City beaches last weekend. If only it had hired a proofreader, too. “ABC 7 DESPARATE TO DESTROY WORKER’S RIGHTS” read the banner, which apparently was sponsored by the local chapter of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, the union that represents photographers and technical workers. A union spokeswoman could not be reached yesterday. • Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send e-mail to [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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