WDCG pedals to license renewal


Complaints by North Carolina bicycle enthusiasts that the "Bob and Madison Show" on WDCG-FM Raleigh-Durham put them in danger have failed to convince the FCC to reject its license renewal. Seven people had filed complaints, six of them seeking to deny the license renewal, because the morning show hosts allegedly urged motorists to run bikes off the road or throw bottles at them. Owner Clear Channel was not oblivious to the public outcry, but rather suspended the duo for a time and took actions to promote bike safety, including more than 1,200 PSAs run on its cluster of stations in the market. In his letter granting the license renewal, FCC Peter Doyle had this to say: "The Commission’s role in overseeing program content is very limited. The First Amendment and section 326 of the Act prohibit the Commission from censoring program material and from interfering with broadcasters’ freedom of expression.  There is no statutory provision or Commission rule that directly prohibits the complained-of broadcasts.

Consequently, the only question before us is whether the broadcasts raise a substantial question about the licensee’s basic qualifications." He then noted that no court had found that the broadcasts met the FCC’s "clear and present danger" test, and indeed that the objectors had not indicated that there had been any civil or criminal court action over the broadcasts that occurred on September 22 and 23, 2003. Case dismissed.