Foe pass: FCC tosses anti-Beasley complaint


A citizen who tried to get the FCC to sanction Beasley Broadcasting for, among other things, using its legal representatives to retaliate against him has been shown the door. Could the retaliation have had anything to do with the citizen’s constant steam of unsubstantiated indecency complaints?

The charges refer mainly to Beasley’s WQAM-AM in Miami. John B. Thompson has been trying to bring the station up on indecency charges for some time, and says that in answer, Beasley has retaliated in a number of ways. He even charged that on-air talent has harassed him, although apparently in the incident cited the name Thompson was never mentioned. Thompson also cited a 1989 settlement agreement that prevented an on-air personality from harassing him – however, although employed by Beasley now, the talent was not so employed back then and Beasley was never party to any such agreement.

The bottom line, according to the FCC, was that even if everything Thompson said was true, not one shred of it was substantiated. So Thompson’s effort was bound to fail even if it had merit. Nonetheless, the FCC found merit to be in short supply.

One of Beasley’s counterarguments is that Thompson should be sanctioned for abuse of process.  They point out that he has made “repetitious and irrelevant filings” and that there were “significant misrepresentations in those filings, including unsubstantiated, false allegations that Beasley and its counsel have engaged in a range of criminal misconduct.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Congratulations to Beasley for not taking this lying down. However, the FCC deferred consideration of Beasley’s counter action. We’d like to see some action taken. There is plenty of gray area in the indecency enforcement arena in which an angry citizen can raise a legitimate complaint that may or may not be enforceable. That makes it all the more important for the FCC to demonstrate that there is a price to pay for frivolous and unsubstantiated charges.