Cox prevails over dual denial attempts


The $60M acquisition of six stations in the Athens GA vicinity by Cox Radio from Paul Stone’s Southern Broadcasting Companies has been granted by the FCC over two utterly unrelated objections. In one of the cases, Dr. Preston Coleman and others expressed concern that Cox is unfit to program radio stations in the public interest, citing as proof the alleged excesses of air personality Neil Boortz, who airs on one of the group’s Atlanta stations. Beyond the fact that the FCC has extremely limited jurisdiction over the programming decisions of any licensee is the fact that these is as yet not even the slightest indication that Cox plans to air the Boortz program in Athens. Coleman’s objection was denied. The other objection comes from Coosa Valley News Inc., which raises allegations about Stone’s business dealings and suggests he lacks character and has an anti-competitive attitude. The FCC noted that allegations do not constitute an official finding regarding either charge, and in fact nobody has proven that either charge is true; therefore, there is no reason to cite this as a reason to object to the current transfer application. The FCC went further, rebuking Coosa Valley for using FCC regulatory procedures “merely to advance a vendetta against a business competitor.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Wow – tough words from the Commission. It appears that those who send frivolous or otherwise unsupported filings to the FCC are on notice.