WASHINGTON, D.C.—Fox’s lawyers have strongly pushed back against an effort to block the license renewal of its WTXY-TV station in Philadelphia with a letter urging the FCC to renew the license “without delay.”
In a Dec. 4 letter to the FCC, lawyers for Fox, which owns the station, called the challenges to the license renewal a “misuse of a license renewal proceeding” that is designed “to air civil grievances of the type that the Commission long ago decided were not germane to its responsibilities under Sections 309(d) and (k) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.”
The letter also argues that the claims made by opponents of the license renewal are “not only incorrect, but dangerous in its disregard for the FCC’s longstanding, bipartisan record of resisting efforts to revoke licenses on political grounds.”
“Put simply, for so long as Fox 29 Philadelphia’s license renewal application remains pending, this group of individuals and associated entities will continue to use Commission processes as a forum for litigating matters well outside of the scope of the Communications Act,” the lawyers concluded.
Following the April 3 application by Fox Television Stations, LLC to renew the license of station WTXF-TV, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Media and Democracy Project (MAD); Milo Vassallo; John McGinty; Peter Lems; Chenjerai Kumanyika; and Bill Hartman filed a petition on July 3 to deny the Application.
They cited the $781 million judgement in the Dominion case against Fox Corporation, which is the parent company of Fox News and the Fox-owned stations. They argued that the election lies regarding Dominion and the 2020 election that aired on Fox News were grounds for the FCC to hold an evidentiary hearing and rule that Fox was unfit to hold the license.
Since then others have filed informal objections, including the former president of Fox Broadcasting Jamie Kellner, Alfred Sikes, a former Republican FCC chairman, former Democratic FCC Commissioner Ervin Duggan and ex-Fox News Channel commentator Bill Kristol.
Last summer Fox responded with a FCC filing saying that any attempt to stop the license renewal would be “in violation of the First Amendment and the authority delegated to the Commission by Congress.”