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Free Speech - July 1996 - Volume II, Number 7


ADV & WRNO vs. FCC

By Nelson Rosit

"To quote Richard Cotton, Freedom is not Free." Thus began a letter from Joseph M. Costello, president of station WRNO, to American Dissident Voices explaining a bill for legal fees that the station incurred responding to an inquiry from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Last August WRNO was the subject of an inquiry by the FCC (see articles in the September 1995 and February 1996 issues of Free Speech). The commission claimed that it was responding to complaints by unnamed individuals or groups. The complainants charged four programs carried by WRNO, including ADV, were targeted solely at a domestic audience in violation of FCC rules.

The charges themselves were patently absurd; but there was plenty of method behind this madness. The unidentified individuals or groups filing the complaints knew that the FCC would serve as their flunky to perpetrate what amounted to petty harassment of WRNO for daring to broadcast Politically Incorrect views.

Despite the groundless nature of the charges, the station was required by FCC regulations to respond to them. This required time and legal expertise. Quite understandably WRNO passed the cost of the latter on to the programs involved. The enemies of Free Speech know that we run on a shoestring budget with a skeleton staff. The time and money used to respond to frivolous complaints could be used for a dozen other pressing needs.

The other apparent purpose of the complaints was to use the FCC as an intelligence gathering agency for the anonymous groups or individuals involved. Among the information the FCC required the station to submit were:

Any and all documents that relate to the development, production, acquisition, broadcast, and/or intended audiences of the four aforementioned programs.

Any and all promotional material used by station WRNO in any period during which any of the four aforementioned programs have been aired....

Any and all documents pertaining to any commercial advertisements aired by station WRNO in connection with any of the aforementioned programs....

Any and all documents that evidence business plans for station WRNO that in any way relate to the time slots used for broadcast of the four aforementioned programs.

Since the original complaints were baseless and WRNO responded in a prompt and professional manner, the FCC has apparently been mollified for the moment. We can certainly expect, however, that the enemies of our rights and freedoms will use similar tactics and worse when opportunities present themselves in the future

Web editorís note: No information on subscribers to Free Speech or on anyone who has contacted National Vanguard Books or the National Alliance was released to the FCC.


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