FCC Steps Up Forfeitures for Rules Violations
Broadcasters are urged to insure that they are in compliance with all FCC rules as the Commission has signaled its intent to levy fines and forfeitures when any rules violations are discovered. This week, the FCC proposed fines in the amount of $3,000 each to 28 radio stations for failure to comply fully with the Commission’s public file requirements. All of the fines were levied in response to disclosures made by the licensees in their renewal applications, and were said to be reduced from $4,000 each on the basis of the voluntary disclosures.
Separately, the Commission affirmed a $10,000 fine against a South Dakota radio station for operating an unlicensed studio to transmitter (“STL”) link. This violation was discovered during a station inspection. A TV station in Orlando also received a proposed $10,000 fine for operating its DTV station in violation of a condition in its construction permit requiring a prior showing that no interference would be caused to land mobile radio facilities. An Arizona radio station received a proposed fine of $4,000 for airing a telephone conversation with the widow of St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball pitcher Darryl Kile, without informing her that the conversation was being broadcast.
Indecency complaints have also recently generated large fines. Late last week, the Commission proposed a statutory maximum fine of $357,500 against Infinity Broadcasting for a series of broadcasts on the “Opie and Anthony Show” in New York, regarding alleged sex acts staged in public places, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. At the same time, the FCC proposed a $55,000 fine against AMFM Radio for indecent broadcasts on an FM morning show in Washington, D.C.
The Commission’s message is clear: Break the rules and you will be fined. We would be happy to assist in a station audit to determine if your station is operating in compliance with FCC rules or to answer any questions regarding public file or other FCC requirements.