Radio’s Trish and Halli get First Amendment protection

From The Idaho Falls Post-Register

The FCC announced Monday it was granting license renewal to KID-AM 590, overruling objections to comments made by Trish Oak and Halli Stone while on the air.

Trish Oak and Halli Stone left the airwaves more than a year ago, but a shadow they left hanging over their radio station, KID-AM 590, was not dispelled until Monday.

That’s when the Federal Communications Commission announced it was granting KID’S license renewal application, overruling objections that were filed in summer 2005.

Idaho Falls residents Seth and Andrea Grover and Kevin Murray, and then-Idaho House Speaker Bruce Newcomb had filed complaints about comments Oak and Stone made on their afternoon radio talk show.

But the often-controversial duo, which left the air in January 2006 in favor of nationally syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham, had the protection of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

“I think that just vindicates the content of our program and our right to express our opinions, which is what the program was all about,” Stone said Monday.

Andrea Grover, a member of the Post Register Readers Advisory Board, told the FCC that the two sisters attacked her after Grover wrote a newspaper piece expressing her distaste for what she considered ostentation at the 2005 inauguration of President Bush.

In his complaint, Seth Grover called their programming “psycho-conservative garbage,” and Murray complained the two went overboard with their views.

Newcomb said he filed his complaint in objection to on-air comments about several people, but that he was particularly upset by comments that he thought impugned the character of state Sen. Bart Davis and showed insensitivity with regard to the 2003 shooting death of Davis’ son Cameron.

In its letter to everyone with objections, the FCC’s Audio Division Media Bureau chief, Peter H. Doyle, said the comments were protected by the First Amendment, the Communications Act of 1934 and the FCC’s rules.

“The role of the commission in overseein program content is limited,” he wrote. Although it enforces statutory prohibition on the broadcast of o g scene, indecent and profane material, “(The) Commission may not regulate the type of material about which the objectors have complained.”

The FCC renews the licenses of all radio stations in the United States every eight years. Had there been no objections, the renewal would have gone into effect Oct. 1, 2005.

“Anytime there’s a dispute, they do postpone renewal of a license until it’s investigated,” said Neica Kinney, eastern Idaho station manager for Clear Channel Communications, which owns KID-AM 590 and several other radio stations.

Those stations are part of a pending sale to Blue Point Media, an Illinois company that announced in February its intention to buy 22 FM, 13 AM and six translator stations in the Midwest and Mountain West. The $45.7 million sale won’t be final until the FCC has signed off on it.

Informed Monday of the FCC’s decision, Andrea Grover said she has no beef with KID-AM 590 now that Oak and Stone are off the air.

“That was my only concern with the station,”she said.

From The Idaho Falls Post-Register

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