The Federal Communications Commission (FCC is the Federal agency tasked with ensuring that Radio and broadcast Television stations are "serving the public interest, convenience. and necessity."

That's right. We the People own the public broadcast airwaves (not cable.) Local Radio and TV stations are granted licenses to broadcast ONLY IF they serve the public interest.

OurPublicAirwaves.com gives you the tools to hold your local broadcasters and the FCC accountable to the true owners of the nation's airwaves, We the People.

Formal Complaint to FCC filed on behalf of Wisconsin citizens

May 24, 2012, I filed a formal complaint on behalf of citizens of Wisconsin with the FCC concerning Milwaukee's WTMJ and WISN radio.

Both stations are violating the FCC's Quasi-Equal Opportunities Doctrine (Zapple Doctrine) which provides that if a radio station gives free airtime to supporters of one major political party candidate, it must provide comparable time to supporters of the other major political party candidate.

Supporters of Tom Barrett are demanding their rights in the remaining days of the Scott Walker recall election, and we have asked the FCC to intervene immediately.

Read the full complaint here:

Form a Local Media Action Team!


1.  Put together a few committed individuals to form a local media action team.

2.  Determine what Public Interest Obligations your team wants from your local broadcasters.  Examples:  Equal opportunities for all political candidates on TV and Radio within 60 days of elections, fact checking of third party campaign ads, tornado warnings on all TV and Radio stations.  Find more ideas here

3.  Make an appointment to meet with your local broadcast station's general manager and news director.  Politely discuss what your group wants for your local community. You may find that local management is very sympathetic to your needs.

4.  Take notes about what is said or promised in the meeting.

5.  Monitor what happens next:  Record TV or radio programs or listen to the radio online podcasts.  Find specific instructions here.  Also , here is a new site our colleagues set up to blog about Wisconsin broadcasters, we can set these up nationwide.

6.  Write a report and send it to local newspapers and bloggers.  If the stations meet your requests, make them heroes.  If not, publicize how they are not meeting their public interest obligations to your community.  Find examples here.

7.  Use the form at www.TellFCC.com to complain to the FCC about: 
Biased or distorted news stories, threatening or intimidating statements about an individual or group, incitements to violence, unfair or biased broadcasts, or indecent broadcasts.   We will forward your complaint to the FCC, to the offending station, to its corporate owner, and to the team leader in your area, who can place the complaint on your local Facebook page.  We will publicize complaints, and in the most egregious cases, will file petitions to deny stations' licenses.

8.  Show up at your local stations during normal business hours and ask to inspect the stations' public files.  You do not need an appointment.  If you are denied, take specific notes as to who you talked to and what was said, and immediately complain at www.MediaActionCenter.net , as they legally must show you their files on demand. 
     Find out who is complaining about what, and how the station is responding to the community's needs.  Find out who is buying political ads and at what price.  Learn just how much money the station is making through political ad sales. Look for existing petitions to deny licenses, and see if two stations have shared services agreements to operate just one newsroom.

9.  Have your team leader communicate with us at Act@MediaActionCenter.net for advice and next steps:  station protests, boycotts of sponsors, petitions to deny licenses.

10. Fill out the Broadcasters' Public Interest Obligations survey linked here to let us know your concerns.

11. Stay vigilant: by reclaiming our public airwaves, you are protecting our democracy.


Big Thanks to the Sacramento Media Group for showing us the way to effect real change in broadcasting!