Wheeler: 'Redskins' Petition Handling Is Standard Procedure

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the FCC will go through the regular process of vetting the petitions to deny the license renewal of Redskins owner Dan Snyder's WWXX-FM Washington over its use of 'Redskins.' 

Wheeler was asked at a press conference Friday following the FCC's public meeting why the FCC had not put out the petitions—by legal activist John Banzhaf and subsequently three Native Americans.

Wheeler said the FCC gets hundreds of petitions to review license application renewals every year and that it was being handled like all those others.

"That means that there is an opportunity for the party to respond, there is an opportunity for response to that, and then you determine whether putting it out [for comment] is needed. We are handling this by the established process."

Wheeler has said he thinks the name is offensive and should be changed, a point he first made to B&C/Multichannel Newsin an interview, but he has also said that is his personal opinion.

While some have played up those comments, combined with his comments that the FCC was reviewing the petition as a sign the FCC might ban the word, Wheeler has signaled that it is instead a sign the FCC is doing its job and treating the complaint according to standard protocol. 

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.