The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again denied Asbury Radio access to the 16 documents the agency withheld from our initial request for all written communication regarding the actions of the FCC's field engineer, in the Fall of 2006, in shutting down the station that carried Asbury Radio, WYGG 88.1 FM -- and his subsequent visits in 2007. Each time the station announced that Asbury Radio was resuming, the same engineer came back out to this station in Asbury Park from his office on Varick St. in Manhattan. Eventually, the station management asked us to hold off on our return until the agency had stopped their investigations.
We requested the files under the Freedom of Information Act, but many of the pages we received contained passages blocked out by black marker. In addition, the FCC's accompanying letter said16 files had also been withheld. We wanted to know why we couldn't see them. We wanted access to all documents in order to satisfy ourselves that the agency hadn't acted in part due to pressure from parties Asbury Radio may have covered in its efforts to keep listeners informed about Asbury Park's redevelopment, or on other public affairs topics. Click here for the agency's response via Congressman Frank Pallone. The notion of outside pressure is not so farfetched when you consider that one of the investors in Asbury Partners was having our weekly shows transcribed.
We would hope to be wrong about the FCC. But the only way to ensure that government agencies are acting independently is to examine their motives through access to their communications, what we call transparency.
As you'll see in the letters, our only recourse now is the courts.