Banzhaf: KNBC-TV License Challenged

Add KNBC-TV to the list of broadcasters targeted by legal activist John Banzhaf and Native Americans critical of the use of the Redskins name on-air.

Banzhaf said early Monday (Nov. 3) that a petition to deny the renewal of Fox-owned KTTV Lost Angeles had been filed. Then late Monday, he said a second petition had been filed against NBC-owned KNBC-TV.

L.A. stations were targeted both because of the market's large Native American population and because California station licenses are up for renewal Dec. 1, with the deadline for filing petitions to deny Nov. 3.

The petitions focus on use of the language as constituting "profanity," which the FCC regulates under its indecency rules.

The FCC is currently considering a petition, filed by Banzhaf, challenging the license of Redskins owner Dan Snyder's WWXX-FM Washington radio station. The fact that the FCC is considering the petition does not signal how the FCC will come down on the issue. FCC Chairman Tom wheeler has said he personally thinks the name should be changed, but that is different from whether the name constitutes "profanity," or "fighting words," or "hate speech," as has been suggested in the petitions.

Elsewhere on the Redskins name front, there were protests in Minnesota at the Redskins game there Sunday while, back in Washington, D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is no fan of the team name, celebrated the launch of Native American Heritage Month (November) by calling on the FCC to begin a proceeding to ban the use of the name.

Norton has also said she will introduce House legislation mirroring a bill form Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that would take away the NFL's tax exempt status unless it takes action to get the team to change its name.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.