Fed up with the lack of local news programming, limited alternatives for news gathering and reporting or the lack of diversity even in the music line-ups on your RADIO dial? NOW is the time to get your feedback to the FCC about your stations’ license renewal. Giving feedback to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for current commercial and non-commercial licencees’ contract RENEWALS involves a few steps but may be worth it.

All Ohio radio stations are licensed by the FCC and upon their expiration on October 1, 2004, those granted renewal licenses now will be licensed until 2012, eight years from now! This is a change from what used to be three years, then five years, and now eight years. This means it will be another eight years before we can make such an impact on licensing for radio stations and the use of the public’s airwaves. So, what can you do?

· Go to www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/renewal/ for general information about the license renewal process

· Go to www.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/pif.html to learn about what is to be maintained in the mandatory Public Inspection File and how access is to be granted to interested parties (i.e., YOU).

· Have a look at “The Public and Broadcasting” to get more information of what the FCC says about the role of you, the public, and the broadcasters’ roles, rights, and responsibilities. Find it at: www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/decdoc/public_and_broadcasting.html

· Have a look at the NAB’s website for more general information on the corporate side of license renewing, www.nab.org/

· To learn who owns the radio and television stations in Columbus, Ohio (or your community), go to the Center for Public Integrity’s Media Tracker service, www.publicintegrity.org/telecom/, and type in your area to view a listing.

· From here you can identify which radio stations you would like to visit to review the Public Inspection File, noted above. You can get their hours of operation, address, and phone number to make your visit.

· Once you decide you’d like to review the file, contact Michel Coconis (michel4justice@yahoo.com, 614-447-0012, “Radio Renewal” in subject line, please) for a checklist and other tools that might be helpful for your visits to stations to review the Public Inspection File.

· You can review the file, make notes, perhaps even copies, and then send your “findings” to us here at the Columbus Free Press, truth@freepress.org, so that we can compile them and begin a database of interested citizens and information about the stations. Of course, sending letters to the FCC (complaints at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html) and the radio station directly – perhaps even sending Letters to the Editiors of local publications about what you found and why you thought it was important to do so.

· Give yourself a pat on the back for becoming an early EXPERT on Public Inspection Files and start preparing to review files and recruiting friends for file reviews for our Ohio/local Television stations next year for their 2005 renewals!