Last week, Rep. Joseph Kennedy and other U.S. Representatives met with FCC Chairman William Kennard to encourage him to bring a proposal for a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on broadcast alcohol advertising to a vote at the next meeting of the Commission, scheduled for June 11. Last July, on a tie vote, the Commssion failed to support an inquiry, despite broad public support and urging from President Clinton, Attorney General Reno, 15 state attorneys general, and others.

The Federal Communications Commission now has a majority which we believe would support a request from Chairman Kennard to approve a Notice of Inquiry to examine the issues raised by the introduction of distilled spirits advertising on television and radio.

Coalition representatives met with each of the new commissioners during the winter, and we have been soliciting support for the NOI from other officials. Additional initiatives are also underway to promote a full public airing of broadcast alcohol advertising issues.

We need your help too.   Please call the FCC (1-888-Call FCC) -- or send a message to Chairman Kennard urging him to place the liquor advertising Notice of Inquiry on the agenda for the next FCC meeting.

Chairman William Kennard
Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street, NW #814
Washington, DC 20554
phone: 888-Call FCC (or 202-418-1000)
fax: 202-418-2801

Talking points:

  • Although there has not yet been a flood of liquor ads on the air, the increase in such ads has been dramatic. Between 1995 and 1996, liquor companies increased their broadcast ad spending by more than 150%, despite decreases in overall liquor and alcohol ad spending. We should not have to wait until liquor ads are commonplace on television and radio to examine the effects they -- and other alcohol ads -- may have on young people.

  • A Notice of Inquiry would provide an opportunity for all parties to be heard on alcohol advertising issues. Development of such a public record is long overdue.

  • A Notice of Inquiry would allow the Commission to gather facts in an organized and accessible fashion, and allow the Commission to report to the President, the Congress, and the American people on the status of broadcast advertising for alcoholic beverages.

  • A Notice of Inquiry would allow the Commission to examine a range of possible responsive measures that have been proposed to prevent, mitigate, or counterbalance the adverse effects on young people of alcoholic-beverage advertising on television and radio.

May 27, 1998