In 2005 a grassroots group, Iowans For Better Local TV, filed a Petition to Deny relicensure with the FCC against a local Sinclair Broadcasting-owned station, KGAN. It was an enormous effort involving dozens of volunteers, countless hours of data collection, community education, lobbying community leaders and elected officials, letters to the editor, guest opinions in local newspapers, monitoring the station’s content, and that’s only the half of it.
The other half of it involved a dozen or so visits to KGAN where teams of volunteers physically reviewed the station’s public inspection file, document by document, and made copies of hundreds of pages of information with a rented copy machine that we brought along with us to each station visit. KGAN would not let us in the room where the files were kept. We had to tell them basically what we wanted to see and they brought the files to a meeting room and assigned a staff to monitor our activities.
The point is, every citizen has a right to see the station’s public inspection files. But getting folks to go to a broadcast station to see the station’s public file is not an easy thing to do. It’s actually a lot harder than getting them to knock on doors or make phone calls.
So now in a huge victory for transparency, broadcasters are being required to make their political files available online.
For more about this huge win for Democracy, go to Freepress.com.
A complete list of what must be kept by the station can be found here: FCC.gov
And for more about IBLTV’s 2005 FCC filing, here are some links:
You can read IBLTV’s entire PTD here: IBLTV/PTD.org
Broadcasting & Cable did a story about our effort