2007_11_wwor9.JPGWWOR/channel 9 got a wake-up call that it's supposed to be a New Jersey TV station when the FCC held a hearing about the station's license renewal. Critics say the station's license shouldn't be renewed because it has failed to discuss NJ news and issues.

The station, owned by News Corporation whose local media holdings include WNYW/Channel 5 and the NY Post, was moved to NJ in 1986 due to FCC law that each state have a VHF channel. But, as the Star-Ledger reports, non-profit "Voice of New Jersey cites WWOR's own FCC "Service to New Jersey" reports indicating the station ran 1,354 New Jersey news stories between 1999 and 2006, an average of fewer than 170 stories a year, or one every two days." Not only that, most of the NJ stories that aired were "lurid, tabloid" stories about killings and crimes.

At yesterday's hearing held at Rutgers, Senator Frank Lautenberg complained, "When you pick up your remote and turn to Channel 9, you are not getting sufficient information about New Jersey’s schools, roads or neighborhoods...Routinely, the news is about New York, and New Jersey news is largely forgotten or buried deep into newscasts." From the NY Times:

...the home page on the station’s Web site features an image of the New York skyline. (Less than two hours after the hearing, WWOR replaced the skyline image with one of the George Washington Bridge.)...

WWOR’s vice president, Lew Leone, responded to the criticism by showing a video that included clips of the station’s New Jersey coverage. The video ended with the words “My9 and New Jersey: Perfect Together.” (What appeared to be masking tape had been placed over the letters “NY” in the “My9NY” slogan on a WWOR television video camera that was recording the proceedings.)

Of course, masking tape can't cover everything: The WWOR website happens to be www.my9ny.com (www.my9nj.com isn't available, so we expect WWOR's site to redirect there soon!).

The license will probably be renewed, but the issue has brought up an interesting debate about the awkward place NJ is in, especially being between two major media markets like NY and Philly. But could a mostly-NJ station survive?