Sen. Menendez picks up Lautenberg fight, call on FCC to review WWOR-TV’s license after parent company folds news division

HUDSON COUNTY AND BEYOND – Following News Corporation’s decision to close WWOR-TV’s news division and discontinue its 10 p.m. nightly broadcast, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expeditiously review the company’s application to renew the station’s broadcast license.
The station’s broadcasting license has been in limbo for years. According to federal law, television stations must serve the community needs of the areas in which they are based. But New Jersey residents, advocates, and the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) argued for years that WWOR-TV, which is based in Secaucus and owned by News Corporation, failed to live up to this obligation.
When the station’s license came up for renewal in 2007, Lautenberg led an effort to either have the renewal request turned down by the FCC or approved with conditions. The FCC, however, never rendered a decision on the matter.
It now appears that Sen. Menendez is taking on Lautenberg’s fight.
In a letter dated July 9, Menendez wrote to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn: “I am writing to request a prompt and thorough review of News Corporation’s application to renew the license for WWOR, which has been pending before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 2007. I further request that the FCC conclude its ongoing investigation concerning misrepresentations by WWOR included in their license renewal proceedings. In light of WWOR’s decision to drop their nightly news programming, a decision which affects millions of New Jerseyans, it is becoming increasingly critical that the FCC make a determination about WWOR’s license and whether they are adequately serving New Jersey as the law and FCC rules stipulate. From my perspective, News Corporation is not.”
On July 8, WWOR-TV debuted “Chasing New Jersey,” a news magazine-style program that the station said will replace its 10 p.m. news broadcast.
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