Show Business: The Challengers

A TV or radio license has long seemed a permanent possession for most broadcasters. Though the law required periodic review of a station's performance, its right to continue using the air waves was rarely questioned, and the Federal Communications Commission tended to rubber-stamp most license renewals. No more. To the dismay of the broadcasting industry, citizen groups and rival commercial interests are posing increasingly numerous and serious challenges to the near perpetual license.

Petitions against more than 100 stations are pending with the FCC, the biggest number the overworked commission has ever had....

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