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Could Redskins Name Controversy Affect Dan Snyder's Radio Licenses?

July 1, 2014

Radio news website RadioInsight wrote that a former head of the Federal Communications Commission had suggested that the controversy surrounding the Redskins name could impact the radio licenses held by the team's owner, Dan Snyder.

Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt told the Indian Country Today Media Network that the commission should reevaluate whether Snyder was fit to own D.C. sports talkers WTEM, ESPN 980, and WSPZ, Sportstalk 570, as well as a sports talker in the Richmond, Va., area. 

"These licenses are owned by the public and they are given to individuals for the purpose of serving the public interest," Hundt told the Indian Country Today Media Network. "The FCC does not give radio station licenses to felons; it doesn't give radio station licenses to people of bad character. Historically, the FCC has been reluctant to give broadcast licenses to people who advocate racially intolerant positions."

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A WTOP poll found that more than 60 percent of residents in the Washington, D.C., area thought the Washington Redskins should not change their name. 

The poll, conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies, found that 39 percent of responders thought the Redskins should change their name. But 55 percent thought the name would eventually have to change. 

Also, 69 percent said the team name controversy had not influenced their decision to buy Redskins tickets or merchandise.

The WTOP "Beltway Poll" was created by polling 604 participants in the WTOP listening area from June 20-26. The findings can be found online at wtop.com. 

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The Detroit News has joined a growing batch of newspapers that have stopped using "Redskins" for Washington's NFL team.

The newspaper's management sent a memo to the staff, saying: "A federal board voted to cancel the Washington Redskins' trademark, deeming the name 'disparaging' of Native Americans. For our platforms, use Washington football team on first reference, except Washington (alone) is acceptable if the reference to the NFL team is clear. On second and subsequent references, use Washington where the context will make it clear to our readers we're talking about the NFL team. It is acceptable to use the Washington Redskins identification in items that refer to the naming controversy."

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