Groups Seek FCC Denial of Fox TV Waiver Request

(Image credit: Future Media)

Free Press, Common Cause and the United Church of Christ have filed an opposition to Fox TV Stations' request for a permanent waiver of the FCC newspaper-broadcast crossownership rules to own both the New York Post and WWOR-TV Secaucus, N.J.

Both the station and the paper are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Fox has had a temporary waiver, which the FCC periodically renewed until eliminating the rule in 2018 as part of a local ownership deregulation item, only to have an appeals court reinstate it, requiring Fox to once again seek a waiver.

Related: FCC Renews WWOR License

In their filing with the FCC Tuesday night (Dec. 1), the waiver opponents gave three reasons why the FCC should deny Fox TV's reques, arguing that it is 1) "legally deficient" and fails to meet the standard for a waiver; 2) that the fact that it has gotten past waivers doesn't mean the FCC should maintain that status quo, particularly given "the two-decade long history of opposition to its impermissible cross-ownership of WWOR and the Post, as well

as the history of Commission actions that led to Fox obtaining its string of temporary waivers, all in order to pretend that granting the waiver it now seeks is somehow justified by the purported public interest benefits and compliance plans Fox promised but never delivered" (; and 3) that during the pending transition from one Administration to another and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of an FCC and broadcaster appeal of that appeals court decision is not the right time for the FCC to weigh in.

The Supreme Court oral argument on the the FCC's local ownership dereg is scheduled for Jan 19, just a day before the switch in administrations on Inauguration Day.

"The Commission must adhere to its own standards for waiver requests, and doing so should only lead to one outcome: denying Fox’s request for a permanent waiver of the NBCO rule," they told the FCC. 

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.