Sharpton Wants U.S. FCC to Step in on Violent Radio

Al Sharpton, a community activist and one-time Democratic presidential candidate, on Thursday urged the government to step in to stop what he said was violence fomented by radio stations.

He spoke to the Federal Communications Commission and two Democratic FCC commissioners, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.

He encouraged the agency to hold field hearings to investigate violence involving radio stations, bar artists from the air for 90 days if linked to violence, and consider such incidents when deciding whether to renew broadcast licenses.

Some stations were double-booking rival music artists and gossiping about competing musicians on the air just before they arrived which led to fights, Sharpton said.

He noted two incidents, one with Grammy winner Lil' Kim in 2001, involving shootings outside a New York hip hop station owned by Emmis Communications Corp., Hot 97 FM.

"This is a misuse of the public airwaves," he told reporters in the lobby of the FCC after his meeting. "I would think a pattern of bloodshed in front of federally regulated radio stations has a compelling reason for government intervention."

Sharpton said the FCC officials expressed interest in his ideas and the possibility of field hearings.

"We welcomed the opportunity to meet with Rev. Sharpton to discuss media violence, the issue of violence in the media is one the commission ought to take more seriously," Copps said in a statement.

Martin and Adelstein declined to comment.

The agency has not directly addressed the issues raised by Sharpton, but Congress last year did ask the FCC to study violence on television and the impact on children.

The FCC was asked to report back by January of this year, however it has not yet done so. Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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