Statement of George Hacker
Director, Alcohol Policies Project

June 12, 1997

FCC Commissioner Rachelle Chong today requested that FCC Chairman Reed Hundt remove a draft Notice of Inquiry regarding broadcast liquor advertising from the agenda of the Commission's June 19 meeting. That obstructionist action amounts to the latest diversion from the FCC's responsibility to assure that broadcast licensees use public airwaves to serve the public interest.

If the potential impact of liquor ads on children does not raise questions concerning broadcasters' public interest responsibilities, then what does? It's truly amazing that any Commissioner would duck the issue, refusing even to undertake an investigation that would include consideration of the Commission's jurisdiction to take specific remedial actions or make appropriate recommendations to Congress.

Distillers' longstanding voluntary ban on broadcast liquor ads occurred on this Commission's watch. Commissioner Chong's delaying tactic puts the interests of broadcasters and liquor marketers above those of children. Rather than block a vote on Chairman Hundt's draft Notice of Inquiry, maybe she should just leave.

CSPI is a nonprofit health-advocacy organization that focuses on alcoholic-beverage problems, nutrition, and food safety. It is based in Washington, D.C., and is supported largely by more than one million subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and foundation grants. It does not accept industry or government funding. CSPI led efforts to win passage of the law requiring warning labels on alcoholic beverages and has publicized the nutritional content of many popular restaurant foods.