Media Action Center is a group of of concerned residents throughout the U.S. led by former Emmy-winning broadcaster turned media reformer Sue Wilson. We have successfully influenced policy at the Federal Communications Commission and at local TV and Radio stations throughout the country for more than a decade to ensure We the People are truly served by the publicly owned airwaves. (See the archive of our work under "older posts.") We successfully forced Entercom to give up its $13.5 million license to KDND for killing a woman in a radio water drinking stunt. We have a long-running action to label Alex Jones' radio show as the fiction it is, which has taken Jones' program off dozens of radio stations nationwide. We educated the Supreme Court in FCC v Prometheus Radio on critical information to #SaveLocalNews.

Please see MAC's 2018 Comment to the FCC (below) to learn why these actions are crucial to Democracy. Find full journalistic coverage of the Supreme Court case and our Amicus brief, Sinclair Broadcasting's shell game, Alex Jones, the Strange v Entercom trial and other public interest media issues at For background on how we arrived in this era of disinformation and what to do about it, see Wilson's 2009 documentary Broadcast Blues.

Charlie Sykes (and Rush Limbaugh) the same as Walter Cronkite? Just Say No!

Friday, May 24, 2013
Contact Sue Wilson  

Media watchdog charges that Wisconsin radio station legal claim to FCC that talk radio is 'bonafide news' could lead listener confusion
MILWAUKEE – Talk radio is not news – neither Charlie Sykes nor Rush Limbaugh is Walter Cronkite – argues a media watchdog after a talk radio station argued recently to the Federal Communications Commission that its local political talk radio shows are the same as "bonafide news."

Attorneys for Journal Communications' WTMJ-AM radio made that legal argument to the FCC in answer to a petition to deny the station's broadcast license for violations of the FCC's quasi-equal opportunity rule, or "Zapple Doctrine," said Sue Wilson of Media Action Center.

Media Action Center filed a petition late in 2012 with the FCC to deny the license because, during the Scott Walker recall campaign, WTMJ's Jeff Wagner and Charlie Sykes shows were proven to have given as much as a half a million dollars in free airtime to supporters of Republican Governor Scott Walker. The station specifically denied comparable time to supporters of his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  

 The FCC's quasi-equal opportunities rule (Zapple Doctrine) states that broadcasters must give supporters of both major party candidates comparable airtime.   Only "bonafide news" programs are exempt so they can cover candidates' events in real time. 

 "Bonafide news programs are specifically not allowed to politic for candidates," says Media Action Center Director Sue Wilson.  "Now is our one chance to make a stand for journalism. The FCC has a duty to the public to draw a clear line between news and opinion.

"If the FCC does not draw a clear line, radio talkers from Charlie Sykes to Rush Limbaugh will be equated with newsmen like Walter Cronkite, and listeners will lose any hope of ferreting out fact from fiction," Wilson added.

Media Action Center has launched a petition for public support, "Tell the FCC:  Talk Radio is NOT Bonafide News!"  Please click here to sign.

Thank you!