To: William T. Lake, FCC Media Bureau Chief
CC: Greg Catlin, WBNG General Manager
From: William Huston, PO Box 2873, Binghamton NY, 13902
Subject: Incident 10-C00246669
Dear Mr. Lake,
I am appalled by the program "Marcellus Shale Voices"
which aired tonight, Sept. 14 2010, on WBNG-TV
It was one-sided, and contained misleading and false information.
I have little doubt that this piece was funded by the gas industry,
however the sponsor was not identified.
Furthermore, this program was disguised as a public affairs show.
Viewers will recognize that it was shot at the WBNG studios
and therefore has the look of a news segment.
This would be a violation of FCC rules 47 CFR § 73.1212(a)(1),(2), which states
"When a broadcast station transmits any matter for which money, service, or other valuable consideration is either directly or indirectly paid or promised to, or charged or accepted by such station, the station, at the time of the broadcast, shall announce that such matter is sponsored, paid for, or furnished, either in whole or in part, and by whom or on whose behalf such consideration was supplied"
Under the 1934 Communications Act,
Granite Broadcasting, the license holder,
has an obligation to serve the public interest.
This program grossly failed to do so.
Shale Gas extraction poses great threats to the water supply
of millions of people in New York, as well as causing harms to
our air, roads, and causing many other quality of life issues,
such as noise and light pollution.
This week, the EPA is holding public hearings in Binghamton
in order to assess the potential impacts of shale gas extraction
on public water supplies.
WBNG owes it to this community to give equal airtime to
all of the facts on this critically important issue.
I am urging the FCC to investigate this incident,
and if necessary, issue sanctions to WBNG and Granite Broadcasting,
including compelling WBNG to offer free air time to members
of groups such as Shaleshock, NYRAD, PA Citizens for Clean Water,
who can fairly represent the other side of this critically important issue.
PO Box 2873, Binghamton NY, 13902