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KSCO Renewal Safe

Audio Division dismisses objection based on programming complaints

The Audio Division is not going to overturn the license renewal for Zwerling Broadcasting System’s KSCO(AM), Santa Cruz, Calif., and has dismissed an objection to that renewal.

The FCC actually OKed KSCO’s license renewal last November.

Last December, listener Thomas Irion filed the objection, telling the agency the station doesn’t operate in the public interest because the show hosts “advocate … the use of illegal drugs” on-air. In one claim, Irion alleged during the morning show one time, the jocks basically gave listeners the recipe for a meth substitute over-the-air. He also cites an instance during a program discussing the dangers of electromagnetic radiation, in which station owner Michael Zwerling allegedly “verbally abused a gentleman from Mensa” and treated callers supporting that viewpoint with “derision,” according to the commission.

“Irion has provided a mere bare allegation that the station has promoted unlawful drug use on the air, providing, for example, no support in the form of transcripts of any programming mentioning such drug use or any identification of a specific date and time any such programming aired,” stated Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle in his decision to dismiss the objection.

In general, the commission doesn’t get involved in decisions about what qualifies as good programming, and that’s the case here.

Additionally, Irion had 90 days to object to the renewal and he didn’t, filing his complaint too late, according to Doyle.

Nonparties to the original proceeding must show how their interests were affected and give a “good reason” why they couldn’t participate earlier. Irion hasn’t met this threshold, providing no explanation for why he didn’t object earlier, stated Doyle.