More than 100 people packed a lecture hall at Rutgers-Newark to speak out at a special Federal Communications Commission hearing on November 28, 2007. The FCC called this very unusual public hearing to address the renewal of broadcast license for WWOR-TV, Secaucus New Jersey (Channel 9). New Jersey residents spoke directly to the FCC Commissioners about the quality of broadcast media coverage that they receive.
The hearing was called at the urging of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg to address the issues raised in a Petition to Deny the License Renewal of WWOR-TV filed in May, 2007 by Voice for New Jersey (see below). A similar petition, addressing cross-ownership issues, was filed by the Office of Communication of United Church of Christ, Inc. and Rainbow/Push Coalition.
Senator Lautenberg's opening statement strongly supported Voice for New Jersey's petition. "We are here today because Channel 9 has failed in its responsibility to serve the people of New Jersey", said the Senator. "When you pick up your remote and turn to Channel 9, you are not getting sufficient information about New Jersey's neighborhoods, roads or schools"
"If the FCC renews Channel 9's license, it needs to get tough and make certain that New Jersey gets the news coverage it needs and deserves. The FCC must require Channel 9 to meet specific, measurable goals for its New Jersey coverage. WWOR must identify itself as a New Jersey station. It must devote a specific and substantial amount of air time each week to New Jersey news stories and events. It must document its New Jersey coverage in a separate FCC report, ….and it must keep its news department and production studios in New Jersey."
Donna Sandorse of Voice for New Jersey, Lew Leone of WWOR-TV, three other presenters, and 37 members of the general public also offered testimony. Please click on the links below to view media reports on this important event.