Failure to meet local content rules could spark referendum on license renewal
It is obvious from the history of the FCC that few licenses are ever revoked. I think there has been one or two in the history of the agency. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of political science knows that commissions set in place to regulate industries all to often end up defending not the public from the industry, but the industry from the public.
What I propose is that the FCC's current or proposed rules regarding local content, etc. be enacted however ... but rather than leaving the decision to revoke a license solely to the FCC - the commission should retain all its current rights to regulate the industry it has - there be added another option for revoking a broadcast license.
That option should include a reasonable process for the residents - defined as the registered voters of a DMA or the named community on the license - to petition the court to call a referendum to revoke a broadcast license. That process should require that facts be found by a court of competent jurisdiction (or by reports of the FCC reprimanding the license holder) for specific failures as a condition for calling a referendum.
But once those facts are found, the process would provide for a popular vote to determine whether or not to cancel an operators broadcast license.
Other elements of the process such as whether a certain number of signatures must be acquired to proceed and rules on whether the license holder would have to pay for the election are subject to legislative negotiation.
But the principal that if a media conglomerate - typically not headquartered in the market the license is charged to serve (and I mean R/TV) there should be a procedure by which the residents of a community, by majority vote, can revoke for cause the license granted by the FCC.