Weber Merritt withdraws FCC protest

WASHINGTON: Weber Merritt on June 5 withdrew its protest of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) award of a $3.5 million account to Burson-Marsteller.

WASHINGTON: Weber Merritt on June 5 withdrew its protest of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) award of a $3.5 million account to Burson-Marsteller. The agency cited the time-sensitive nature of the contact, which called for consumer awareness aid for the digital television transition, in withdrawing the complaint but it maintained its reason for the initial protest was valid.

"We understand that the intense timeframe of this project required the FCC to select a vendor with great haste, thus contributing to a procurement process that can be described, at best, as unusual," Bernie Merritt, founder and owner of Weber Merritt, said in a copy of the letter to the Government Accountability Office obtained by PRWeek. All full-service broadcast stations must transition to digital by June 12.

PRWeek previously reported that the FCC would go forward with the contract despite the complaint due to the "urgent and compelling" nature of the DTV transition, which was given an extended deadline of June 12 by the White House.

Merritt maintained that his agency's complaint, primarily that the FCC's RFQ excluded large businesses from the pitch, was valid. He also said in the letter that he learned during a briefing with FCC officials that Burson was the only large agency to apply for the RFQ.

Burson declined comment on the matter.

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