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Quello Says FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Liquor Ads

November 18, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress, not the Federal Communications Commission, should deal with the liquor industry’s decision to abandon its decades-old ban on TV advertising, an FCC commissioner said Monday.

FCC Commissioner James Quello said the agency has no legal authority to intervene. He said he opposed FCC Chairman Reed Hundt’s suggestion two weeks ago that the FCC consider regulatory action if the TV industry doesn’t uphold the ban voluntarily.

``The issues raised by hard liquor advertising constitute a very difficult legal and factual no man’s land _ one that only Congress can effectively cross,″ Quello said in a statement.

ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have promised they would uphold the ban. But more than 1,000 individual TV stations and cable channels have yet to decide whether they’ll air such ads.

Quello said Congress should deal with the issue legislatively upon its return in January.

Earlier this month, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States decided to abandon the ad ban, which for 60 years barred radio ads promoting such products as vodka, tequila and whiskey and 12 years later extended the ban to television.

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