FCC deadlocks on inquiry into liquor advertising on TV
WASHINGTON, D.C.–A split vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in early July has blocked a proposed inquiry into television liquor advertising.
Commissioners Rachelle Chong and James Quello voted against the proposal to gather information on how many television and radio outlets run liquor ads and at what time. They argued that the agency lacks jurisdiction over the subject, contending that the issue falls under the legal authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is currently investigating whether ads by some distillers and brewers are aimed at minors.
Outgoing Commission Chairman Reed Hundt and Commissioner Susan Ness supported the inquiry, but three votes were necessary for passage. The five-member commission currently contains one vacancy.
President Clinton voiced his support for an FCC investigation into the advertising in April, saying that hard liquor advertisements must be kept away from children.
The requests for the inquiry follow distiller Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc.’s 1996 decision to begin broadcast advertising. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) lifted its longstanding voluntary ban on television ads soon after the Seagram’s decision.