Banzhaf: KTTV License Challenged Over 'Redskins'

Fox-owned KTTV Los Angeles is the target of the latest petition to deny a broadcast station license renewal at the FCC over the use of the Redskins name on-air, adding a "fighting words" argument to its challenge.

Fox has the TV rights to the NFL's NFC games, where the Reskins are in the Eastern division. The license is due up for renewal Dec. 1, but the petition had to be filed by Nov. 3.

Legal activist John Banzhaf, who filed suit against Redskins owner Dan Snyder's Washington radio station, WWXX-FM, signaled last week that a complaint would be filed against an L.A. TV station this week, though he had not identified which.

While the WWXX challenge, which was also joined by several Native Americans, argued the term was akin to profanity and might also be hate speech, the KTTV adds "fighting words" and contributing to a hositle work environment.

In announcing the KTTV petition, Banzhaf said it had been filed by three Native Americans, including radio host Larry Smith. He said his involvement was to provide them with a copy of his petition and provide the language about "fighting words" and "hostile work environment."

The FCC is currently considering the WWXX petition. Three out of the five commissioners (the Democrats) have expressed their own concerns about the name, including FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, but that is different from a finding that its use invalidates a station license, something Wheeler has made clear.

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.