ACTION ALERT

TO: FCC Petition Co-signers

DATE: June 2, 1997

RE: Letters Needed to Support FCC Inquiry of Broadcast Alcohol Advertising

On June 19, the FCC commissioners will consider whether to begin an investigation into broadcast alcohol commercials, in part in response to the petition we jointly filed on April 24. The Commissioners are split 2-to-2 on whether to go ahead. Chairman Reed Hundt and Commissioner Susan Ness support our call for the FCC to act, while Commissioners Quello and Chong oppose any FCC action.

We think our best chance for another vote is Commissioner Quello, who has made public statements against broadcast liquor ads, calling for responsive action by the government. We need to contact Commissioner Quello within the next week to ask him to support the Notice of Inquiry (NOI).

The decision on the NOI will actually be made well before the June 19 hearing -- sometime within the next 2 weeks -- so please write as soon as possible.

The Honorable James H. Quello
Commissioner Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20554
Fax: 202/418-2802
Phone: 202/418-2000

  • Our petition asks the FCC simply to investigate broadcast alcohol advertising because only then can the agency determine how to fulfill its obligation to ensure broadcasters protect the interests of the public.
  • The FCC has acted to shield children from harmful programming, including obscenity and indecency, yet the agency is permitting advertising with the sole purpose of enticing viewers -- including children -- to desire and consume a potentially illegal and harmful product.
  • The beer and wine industries alone poured $700 million into broadcast advertising in 1996.
  • For youth, alcohol use more than any other single factor is responsible for more pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV infection. Alcohol is a factor in the three leading causes of death for youth aged 15 to 20 years: unintentional injuries (including motor vehicle crashes), homicides, and suicides.
  • In April, President Clinton urged the FCC to investigate the effects of liquor ads on young people. Also, some two dozen U.S. Representatives, led by Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA), have requested an FCC investigation of liquor advertising on radio and television.
  • Twelve states and Puerto Rico have joined a petition to the agency filed last summer by Alaska's Governor Knowles seeking a ban on broadcast liquor ads.
  • Chairman Hundt and Commissioners Quello and Chong have all announced plans to leave the FCC.

Where appropriate, please also ask elected officials to contact Commissioner Quello.

Use the media (press releases and conferences; op-eds and editorials; letters to the editor).

[ Letter to Comm. Quello from George Hacker ]