FCC CHAIR ABUSES POWER?
source: Deseret News | LA Times
The head of the FCC is being criticized for a decision to allow a stock-car racetrack facility to broadcast an event from its stadium to its parking lot without a license.
Technically, the Metroplex speedway in Ennis, Texas, required a license to air over low-power television the race happening inside. But when the operators of the track were shut down by local FCC agents for not having a license in the middle of an event, they appealed to their local congressman to help them out.
According to a complaint by a high-level agency official, that's when Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, contacted FCC Chairman Bill Kennard on behalf of the owner of the facility. Following the request by Barton, who is a member of the House Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC, Kennard ordered through his chain of command that the field agents in Dallas let the operator continue running.
FCC officials in Washington said the racetrack operators didn't know they needed a license for the short-range transmission from stadium to parking lot. They promised they would get a license in the future but were in a bind with 100,000 expected at the weekend sporting event, FCC officials said.
The commission then granted the facility temporary authority to broadcast over the weekend, an action Kennard defended as common sense.
"We made a pragmatic, common-sense decision not to disrupt an ongoing three- to four-day racing event involving a low-power television broadcast from a stadium into its parking lot," Kennard said. "I believe this decision was made in good faith by all those involved."
[ED. NOTE: Hmm... what about that three- to four-hundred year event called "democracy?" Is it just not as exciting? ]
posted on November 06, 1999 01:22 PM