That is, he will be if he ever has to deal with short-term licenses. Radio veteran emeritus Frank Boyle explains why the FCC got rid of three year licenses in the first place.
If Commissoner Copps had ever personally participated in any the “old’ FCC license renewal one to two week “ascertainment” procedures — he’d understand how it became a simpler process. When your ascertainment team hit all the local political-civic-charitable-police-firemen-Chamber of Commerce-JC-Churches-Synagogues-banks-major employers-Shakers & Movers — to ascertain “What are the key problems and concerns in this community-from your vantage point?” — you expected substantive responses.
Au contraire! 90% of their answers-were: Lower taxes-no place to park downtown-politicians are crooks-when are they going to fix the potholes on Elm Street types. Those were the good ones. Many were “I don’t know — don’t have time to think about it — couldn’t do anything about it if I had the time.”
And a lot of “what the hell can radio do about our town’s problems — I don’t like your new music, anyhow.”
Remember we paid our FCC attorneys an arm and a leg to put together 40 to 50 page FCC license renewal applications. I did ascertainments in Portland, ME, Jacksonville, FL, Utica NY, Flint MI and Bakersfield CA for the radio stations we owned there. We had to rearrange so many non-responses to our serious questions.
Never — not once – did any local bigshot in any of those cities — whom we and other local stations also ascertained — ever contact the FCC with positive or negative views on the ascertainment process. We did this every three years. So much for localism. Finally the FCC recognized the ascertainment process ascertained nothing of real value in the renewal process. Ergo — came the ‘postcard.” But the FCC has 10 year memory blanks. They forget so soon what they don’t want to remember — like the 80-90 docket.
Former Station Owner