A judicial panel of the Federal Communications Commission ruled last week that the government should not renew the broadcasting license of Washington radio station WOOK-FM.
Citing past misconduct by WOOK's owners, the FCC review board said District Broadcasting Co., a minority-owned firm, should take over WOOK-FM's 100.3 frequency from the United Broadcasting Co. Inc., which has been operating that station since 1951.
Affirming an earlier decision by an FCC law judge, the review panel concluded that District Broadcasting was a superior company because United's record "is significantly marred by serious past misconduct." In previous FCC actions, United was penalized with monetary fines and ultimately with the loss of its AM radio license after the commission found the station had broadcast misleading advertising and lottery information.
District Broadcasting's proposal for a black-oriented format and its promise that one of its principals would devote 40 hours a week to the proposed station makes it the best candidate for the station license, the review panel said. Second choice, the panel said, would be Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., which proposed to operate the station with a Spanish-language format.
Despite last week's decision, United will continue to operate WOOK for some time, United lawyers said. They promised to exhaust all appeals in the now 17-year-old case. FCC officials predicted the appeals process could take at least four years.