Fox Television Stations will have to defend its stewardship of WWOR-TV at the Paul Roberson Campus Center at Rutgers-Newark after Thanksgiving. The Secaucus NJ station serves up MNT fare over analog Channel 9 (and is little sister to Fox O&O WNYW-TV), but petitioners think it isn’t serving up enough Jersey-specific content in its pursuit of Big Apple eyeballs. Watchdogs Voice for New Jersey and by the Office of Communication of United Church of Christ, Inc. and Rainbow/Push Coalition have all submitted petitions to deny the license renewal. In a release, the FCC said, "The Media Bureau has not reached a determination with respect to these claims and has decided to hold a local, public forum in which the public and other interested parties can express their views and concerns on this matter. Such public input will assist the Commission in resolving the matters at issue in this proceeding.
RBR/TVBRobservation: New Jersey broadcasters have long been challenged. They’re surrounded by two Top Four media markets, and although the state is densely populated, it has no urban center to compare to New York or Philadelphia. Fox says it is serving local New Jersey citizens, but it’ll have to make its case in public. This announcement may well have put a smile on the face of Commissioner Michael Copps (D) wide enough to house a NJ Turnpike rest area. He has expended voluminous amounts of breath calling for public input into the license renewal process, and bringing an end to rubber stamp renewals. We’ll be watching to see if this is an isolated incident or a trend.