Sen. Menendez Calls Upon FCC to Review WWOR's License Following Closing of News Division

Sen. Menendez Calls Upon FCC to Review WWOR's License Following Closing of News Division

Senior senator invokes obligation to serve the people of New Jersey

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following News Corporation's abrupt closing of WWOR's television news division, 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 text of the letter follows:

July 9, 2013

The Honorable Mignon Clyburn

Acting Chairwoman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Acting Chairwoman 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.

As you are by this point well aware, WWOR is a unique station with unique requirements placed upon the license holder. Carrying out a law passed in 1982, the FCC stipulated that any license holder for WWOR "devote itself to meeting the special needs of its new community (and the needs of the Northern New Jersey area in general)." New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the country, but because of its location between New York City and Philadelphia, does not have a designated market area (DMA). WWOR is required to fill this gap by operating in New Jersey for the benefit of the people in New Jersey. Unfortunately, it appears telling that, rather than add much-needed New Jersey specific programming to their lineup, WWOR instead chooses to supplant its nightly news segment with a show referred to in news reports as "like TMZ."

In recent years, as concerns grew about whether WWOR was living up to its requirement to serve New Jersey, my former colleague Senator Frank Lautenberg led a courageous campaign to ensure the station would again focus on New Jersey issues. He showed that at one point WWOR went by My9NY, he fought against News Corporation's attempt to move WWOR news operations to New York, and he highlighted studies that revealed WWOR actually provided less coverage of New Jersey politics than New York-based television stations.

It is my hope and will be my mission to see that Senator Lautenberg's longstanding and well founded concerns are not forgotten. New Jersey residents deserve nothing less than a fair, robust, and timely review of News Corporation's application to renew the license for WWOR and a conclusion into the ongoing investigation about misrepresentations in the renewal proceedings. Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to your prompt response and to working with you on this issue to ensure the law and regulations protecting my constituents are not ignored.