When this deal happened 10 years ago, I predicted this!
According to published reports, the FCC is investigating Fox-owned WWOR-TV. At the center of the investigation is whether the MyNetworkTV-affiliate has been disregarding its native New Jersey in favor of covering New York area news.
The Los Angeles Times published a story on Thursday, in which, the FCC sent a letter to Fox to determine, “if Fox and WWOR intentionally provided material factual information that was incorrect” or is guilty of “intentionally omitting material information.”
Fox has been criticized by media watchdogs and policicians, including New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg for not providing ample coverage of New Jersey on the TV station.
In 1986, WWOR moved its headquarters to Secaucus, New Jersey. This, after then owner RKO General was found guilty of corporate misconduct by the FCC during the late 70’s and was stripped of WNAC-TV (Now WHDH) license to broadcast in 1980. The company was allowed to keep Channel 9 on the condition that would be primarily a New Jersey TV station, covering New Jersey news and issues.
Fox acquired WWOR in 2001, and in the years since then has folded much of its news operations into its sister station, WNYW and the TV station’s focus on New Jersey has been largely curtailed. If you’ve seen Channel 9 lately, you’ve noticed more of a FOX feel, with more of WWOR’s anchors and reporters showing up and the other way around. But you don’t see as much New Jersey news.
This deal never should been approved in the first place. With only one rulling over the last 50 years, the FCC has not been effective. Unless the WWOR-Fox duopoly can be remidied by forcing a sale, then all it will show is that the FCC is merely a formality…a paper tiger!