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60-69 delayed again

For the sixth time, the FCC scheduled an auction date for spectrum now used for TV ch. 60-69. The new date is June 19. The auction has been delayed repeatedly from the original May 2000 date because of uncertainty about bidders' ability to obtain the frequencies from broadcasters.


Spearheaded by congressmen from New York and Los Angeles, a bill has been introduced in the House to keep TV and film production in the U.S. The bill "would provide tax incentives to employees on qualified U.S. productions." It is a companion to one introduced in the Senate last July.

Court prods FCC on Sinclair

Federal judges have ordered the FCC to explain by Nov. 14 why it has not acted on Sinclair Broadcasting's pending applications to buy 14 TV stations. In a request for court-ordered action last month, Sinclair accused the FCC of improperly delaying company applications to buy the stations. Some of the deals have been pending for three years.

The applications are opposed by the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, which charges that the deals should be rejected unless Sinclair unwinds local marketing agreements it controls in other markets with Glencairn Inc., which is led by African-American broadcaster Eddie Edwards. Rainbow/PUSH maintains that Edwards is a front for Sinclair.

Relatives of company shareholders own nearly all of Glencairn's equity.

FCC won't prod court on recruiting rules

FCC officials won't ask the Supreme Court to uphold the agency's minority- and gender-recruiting rules for broadcasters. The FCC and Justice Department found chances for review slim because there are no conflicting lower court rulings and the FCC can draft rules that address reservations expressed by the federal appeals court that struck down the previous rules. Civil rights groups, however, have sought a Supreme Court review on their own.

Don't take a letter

In the wake of several mailings containing anthrax, the FCC will not accept documents enclosed in envelopes. Document filers and messengers delivering paper communications to the agency will be asked to dispose of envelopes in a receptacle outside the agency's Washington headquarters. Mail and packages delivered to the agency will be opened at an off-site location. Filers requesting confidential treatment of their documents must wait to have materials placed in a commission-provided envelope. The commission also reminded filers that they may file electronically.

Noncom comments

The tangled saga of a Pittsburgh public-TV organization's effort to sell one of its two TV stations took one more twist when

FCC asked for public input on WQED(TV) Pittsburgh's request to delist ch. 16 from the slate of frequencies reserved for noncommercial operators. The group has been trying to sell WQEX(TV) since 1996 to raise money for its other public station, WQED(TV). Earlier requests to sell WQEX have failed because of complications at the FCC.