FCC looks into WHNT story


The story is about a story that didn’t air, a "60 Minutes" segment on Huntsville CBS affiliate WHNT-TV. The fact that a story on the controversial jailing of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was just beginning when the station suddenly went off the air sparked an uproar, and it also resulted in 20 or so complaints winding up at the FCC. Chairman Kevin Martin said he has kicked off an inquiry into the incident. The Local TV station claims it suffered a technical malfunction, that it had no desire to block the program, and has aired the missing footage twice since the outage occurred. The initial inquiry is a simple request to the station to explain the incident. It has 30 days to do so, and will not necessarily lead to any further action.

RBR/TVBR observation: We can’t see this case going anywhere, unless it turns out that the malfunction was caused by interference from one of those experimental unlicensed white space devices, in which unlikely case it will veer off in another direction entirely. It does serve as a reminder that the political scene is highly charged this year. People are paying close attention and they aren’t shy about complaining, formally if necessary. Our advice is to play it fair and by the book. Think twice before you turn down a political add, and think two more times before doing any politician a favor you’re not prepared to do for them all.