Delaware TV Station To FCC: Star Trek Re-Runs Address Local Community Issues


A television station found a novel way to adhere to FCC "public interest" regulations by claiming that airing certain episodes of Star Trek and some other re-runs are "matters of importance" to their local community. Find out how Star Trek is informing the citizens of Wilmington, Delaware below.

TV Station: Star Trek addresses "matters of importance"

A television station (KJWP) that recently moved from Wyoming to Wilmington, Delaware is getting creative in the way they are adhering to FCC regulations, which require all stations using the public airwaves to serve the public interest and to submit a quarterly "Issues/Program List" that identifies how their programming is meeting "matters of importance" to the local community. Typically stations offer news and other community affairs programming, but KJWP does not currently have any news shows. so their Q1 2014 "issues/program list" submitted to the FCC has raised some eyebrows. Just see for yourself…

KJWP Issues/Programs List
First Quarter 2014

KJWP, Wilmington, Delaware, has determined that the following issues are matters of importance to its community of license:

1) International conflicts/civil wars and related arming of combatant parties
2) Prejudice and race relations
3) The place of technology vs. man in society
4) The importance of the rule of law vs. the rule of persons

These issues were addressed in the following programs aired on KJWP. While they were presented in the guise of a fictional show, each program made important points about the issue
presented, provided compelling illustrations of the points made, and offered an avenue for further discussion.

Program: Star Trek: “The Omega Glory”
Date: March 1, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Duration: 60 minutes
Issue: International conflict/civil wars/arms
Description: The Enterprise investigates the disappearance of another starship and discovers a planet where the inhabitants are immortal and engaged in a strange parallel of Earth’s Cold War period.

Program: Star Trek: “A Private Little War”
Date: February 1, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Duration: 60 minutes
Issue: International conflict/civil wars/arms
Description: Kirk becomes involved in an arms race when the Klingons equip a native people with superior weapons.

Program: Star Trek: “The Ultimate Computer”
Date: March 15, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Duration: 60 minutes
Issue: Place of technology vs. man
Description: Starfleet uses the Enterprise to test a new super-sophisticated computer, but it soon develops a mind of its own

The document, which can be read at, goes on to detail how episodes of Wagon Train and Rawhide are also informing the community.

While this may seem laughable, it may actually be legal. According to an analysis of history of the "Public Interest Standard" from the University of Texas, following industry deregulation in the 80’s and 90’s most of the requirements were gutted. While most stations have continued to offer local news or public affairs programming, there appears to be no legal obligation (or at least nothing that is strictly enforced). So this Wilmington channel is just seizing upon ambiguities in the law.

Learning with Star Trek

According to KJWP, these clips from Star Trek’s "A Private Little War" and "The Omega Glory" will teach you all you need to know about "International conflict/civil wars/arms."

And this clip from "The Ultimate Computer" informs you about the "place of technology vs. man."

Maybe they have a point.


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Of all the fictional shows I can think of at the moment, no show better deserves the honor of being deemed a public service to the viewing public than the various Star Trek series, with special emphasis on TOS and TNG in this regard.

Now that is inspired!

Videos can’t be seen in germany :-(

They could also probably justify Dragnet (especially in California) as legal education and crime-prevention programming. Just watched an episode the other night and learned how the 29 year-old spouse of a 17 year-old can be considered their legal guardian when said youngster runs afoul of the juvenile justice system. Who knew??

Watching Star Trek in 1967 could have made this prematurely-wedded youth a better citizen, and Dragnet would have provided real-world reinforcement. Better living through television!! (The names have been changed to protect the five-year mission…)

Now that is thinking. Good stuff.

Its very true. I was thinking of taking over my neighbours garden because I believed he had a wealth of dylithium crystals in his back yard, then I watched Mirror, Mirror and thought ‘hey, that’s not a good thing to do’.
Good old Trek helping avoid another nasty neighbourhood dispute!

nicely played
in the 80 or 90 itv network(UK) did something like this to the a team OK its was only an advert for the program and it was pretty damed funny not that it was supposed to have been i think
i like the style


I fail to understand why the use of narrative fiction to illustrate points relating to current events is considered “laughable”.

Perhaps if the stories were aired without commercial interruption and the remaining time in the hour filled with a panel discussion would make it more academically acceptable? A local PBS station did that with “The Prisoner” and it made for fascinating programming.

Oh, and your own Mission Log podcast has been placing these Trek stories into relevant contemporary context most effectively on a weekly basis for quite some time…

Trek does contain some clear messages. From July 4, 2010, a blast from the past on this very site: In a comment appended to the traditional Independence Day article, I wrote a short celebration of Trek’s messages about American ideals, which arguably are in the public interest:

Hat Rick – July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

To my fellow Americans: As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, let’s renew our allegiance to its highest ideals.

We should remember that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are also celebrated in Trek, which also adds to those ideas the promotion of universal peace and justice. We know from Trek that peace cannot be presumed; it can only be earned, through vigilance, strength, and adherence to principle. Though war is sometimes necessary in the face of external threats and treachery (“A Sacrifice of Angels,” DS9), its overreliance is fatal (“A Taste of Armageddon,” TOS); peace is always the ultimate goal (“Errand of Mercy,” TOS) and justice is essential under law and tradition (“Court Martial,” TOS; “Justice,” TNG). We learn, too, that knowledge of those who may oppose us can bring us closer together (“Devil in the Dark,” TOS). We understand that internal strife is senseless and that diversity is part of our human nature (“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” TOS).

In this age of alienation, what could be better than friendship in peace and brotherhood (Star Trek (2009))?

Once again: Happy Fourth of July!

The dumbing down of America continues….

And “Dora Does Detroit” teaches… urm… I don’t know. I’ll keep watching it and let you know.

The FCC is such a useless place to stick politically well-connected air-bags. It sorts licensing issues, true. But, there’s no real need to watch over content. All of the agency’s rules hasn’t prevented all of the networks from programming prime time as a bloodbath alternating with insipid reality shows. But, thank goodness they fined CBS for showing Janet’s Ninja-star-bedecked boob. Americans can feel protected from unwanted nippleization.

I grew up in Delaware. Too bad we didn’t have KJWP back then, so we could watch Star Trek several times a day. :-)


I fail to understand why the use of narrative fiction to illustrate points relating to current events is considered “laughable”.

What laughable is this stations’s use of a 50 year-old TV space opera to bolster its case that its broadcase license, granted as a public trust making use of the public’s airwaves, is in the public interest. Such a claim is, in fact, bitterly laughable.

(That said, I’ll take Nancy Kovack in a dyed orange fur bikini over a bow-tied George Will any day of the week.)

Gene Roddenberry certainly wanted Trek to be thoughtful entertainment, but I’ll guess that he never saw it as any kind of replacement for inclusive and provacative news and public affairs programming. But this organization’s efforts to coin money while ignoring the obligations it has towards its viewship comes as no surprise in this age of crony capitalism, and corporations granted the rights of human beings with none of the accompanying responsibilities. That’s just life in 21st Century America.

What a great story. I hope it works.

Here in Canada, our version of the History Channel tried to justify playing “CSI: New York” three times a day by claiming it showed the “emotional and psychological aftermath of one of history’s most significant and notorious events, 9/11.” Our regulator didn’t buy that, and ordered the channel to stop playing the show.

Stop saving James Kirk do a story what if Nona never died her would have been forced to take Nona with him because she would have kept him under her spell come on who will write it!!


(That said, I’ll take Nancy Kovack in a dyed orange fur bikini over a bow-tied George Will any day of the week.)

I’ll go with you on that.

By this logic, “Law & Order” should be shown to kids to teach them that it’s wrong for a person to murder someone else simply because they didn’t want to share their orange with them!

The FCC is ridiculous, and “Star Trek” is first and foremost an entertainment property designed to make CBS and Paramount money. The social commentary stuff has always been secondary, making Trek no different from other tv and movie franchises, as all movies and shows arguably (intentionally or not) wind up offering social commentary anyway.

Nothing new (or wrong in my opinion) using classic shows and movies to illustrate points in morality or what have you. The social commentary in TOS was intentional, so much they often hit you over the head with it, for better or worse. Twilight Zone would also be a good choice.

I seem to recall that the old SciFi (now SyFy) channel had a version of the original series that it called “Trek 2.0” with pop-up information that woul explain the historical significance of what the fans were seeing in each episode, production info, etc.

Now that would see to fit the mold of what the FCC lets the broadcasters categorize and label on screen as “E/I” programming.