A listener tried to block the license renewal for noncom KUOW(FM) in Seattle, claiming the station was using its call-in talk shows “to conduct ‘clandestine’ focus group research” and selling that research for profit.
The FCC described the case in its decision to deny the claim and renew the license.
Virgil Howard claimed in 2005 that the station was deceiving and exploiting its listeners for financial gain. The FCC stated that Howard’s evidence “essentially consists of the fact that he has participated in focus groups” and “came to believe that such techniques were being used” in the live talk shows.
KUOW denied the allegations and also questioned whether Howard really lived in the station listening area and heard the broadcasts on-air, or whether he listened online. If the latter, he wouldn’t have standing to oppose the renewal, KUOW argued.
Howard said he lived in the Seattle area and listened on-air about 20 hours a week. Nevertheless, the commission said he didn’t substantiate the claim with the right paperwork; therefore it downgraded his petition to deny the renewal to an informal objection.
The FCC said Howard didn’t have substantial evidence to back up his claims and denied his petition.