Radio America is spearheading a new watchdog group with the goal of heading off any attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine. The Free Radio Coalition will be chaired by former San Diego mayor and current Radio America talker Roger Hedgecock. The group aims to enlist talk show hosts and religious broadcasters, organize a “summit conference” of them, educate the public on the dangers to freedom of speech and a free press posed by the Doctrine, to prepare and deliver expert testimony if needed before the FCC and/or Congress, and to put pressure on both of those bodies to keep the Doctrine in its grave.
Hedgecock stated, “The reinstatement of the misnamed Fairness Doctrine would constitute a massive assault on our cherished First Amendment rights and should be of concern to all Americans regardless of their political or religious persuasion. This coalition will provide a bulwark for defending those freedoms and I hope broadcasters all across the philosophical spectrum will support it.”
RBR/TVBR observation: The announcement of the formation of this group came ahead of the Senate action blocking the return of the Doctrine. Until the legislation gets through the House and gets signed into law, there’s no reason to think FRC will abandon its plans – and it may well soldier on to block other perceived threats to free speech. Stay tuned.