UCC: Rupert Murdoch too loud in NY

The United Church of Christ is going after Rupert Murdoch. It’s a real David vs. Goliath affair, some might say.

A few weeks ago, the liberal, mainline Protestant denomination filed petitions with the FCC to deny license renewals for two Murdoch-owned TV stations in New York — WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV.

The UCC, along with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, says that Murdoch should not have both stations and the New York Post.

“Fox’s common ownership of The New York Post, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV harms me by sharply reducing the number of independent voices available to me,” wrote the Rev. Sherry M. Taylor, from UCC’s Central Atlantic Conference in New Jersey, in the petition. “Unless the licenses are denied, my right to access diverse programming will continue to be harmed.”

The UCC has a long history of fighting for the “public interest” in the media world. In 1964, the denomination helped establish a legal precedent that TV stations must serve the interests of their communities.

“Everett Parker”:http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/P/htmlP/parkerevere/parkerevere.htm of White Plains served as director of the UCC’s national communications office from 1954 to 1983. In this role, he had a huge influence on the broadcasting world. In fact, the trade publication Broadcasting Magazine named him one of the most influential people in broadcasting near the time of his retirement.

The 1.2-million-member UCC, by the way, is having its 50th anniversary celebration in Hartford, starting next Friday. Barack Obama, a UCCer, is scheduled to address more than 10,000 people on Saturday.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.