Hundt: 'Redskins' Use May Make Snyder Unfit Licensee

Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt is suggesting the FCC may want to strip Redskins owner Dan Snyder of his radio station licenses if he does not change the name of the team.

According to an interview on Indian Country Today Media Network, Hundt said that the FCC should "reevaluate" whether Snyder is fit to be a licensee, by which Hundt meant "a person of appropriate character," he said.

“The FCC should consider whether Mr. Snyder is fit to own radio station licenses given that he uses radio stations to broadcast an ethnic slur,” he said. “These licenses are owned by the public and they are given to individuals for the purpose of serving the public interest.

The FCC does not give radio station licenses to felons; it doesn’t give radio station licenses to people of bad character. Historically, [the FCC] has been reluctant to give broadcast licenses to people who advocate racially intolerant positions.”

Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting owns seven radio stations.

Hundt has been one of the driving forces behind an effort to get Snyder to change the name following complaints that it is offensive and racist.

The U.S. Copyright Office gave new impetus to that push two weeks ago when it concluded the name was disparaging to Native Americans and canceled various trademarks.

Hundt told Multichannel News in April 2013 that if broadcasters didn't stop using the name, the FCC should "actively investigate whether its use constitutes indecency.

A Redskins official had not returned a request for comment by press time.

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.