Vermont noncom net rebuffs license challenge


Peter D. Moss picked a bone with Vermont Public Radio on 1/18/06, and just over a week later, Peggy Sapphire picked another. Moss was incensed that the network’s stations, WVPR-FM Windsor, WVPS-FM Burlington, WBTN-FM Bennington, WNCH-FM Norwich and WVPA-FM St. Johnsbury, persisted in functioning as "nothing more than a regime propaganda tool…slavishly support[ing] the rotten conservative bushist regime line and lies." He partially blamed VPR’s acceptance of federal money to operate the noncommercial entity, and said he would drop his objection if VPR stopped saying it was involved in public broadcasting and identified it as "federally subsidized" broadcasting instead. Sapphire, on the other hand, had a petition with "thousands of signatures" requesting that VPR air a program called "Democracy Now," which it opted not to do. As usual in cases such as this, there was no evidence of wrong-doing on VPR’s part, and the FCC has little authority when it comes to programming decisions of responsible licensees. Neither the Moss nor the Sapphire objections could be honored.

RBR observation: Public broadcasters generally find themselves under attack for being too liberal, so this situation is notable perhaps as a case where one is found to be too conservative. Nonetheless, it is yet another ultimately frivolous license renewal objection which confers on the FCC far more power than it actually has. You gotta love that First Amendment.