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Category Archives: FCC Fines

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The Care and Feeding of the Broadcast Public Inspection File – Requirements and Retention Periods, A Presentation on the Issues

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC requires each full-power broadcast station, commercial and noncommercial, to maintain a public inspection file.  Even though this is a longstanding FCC requirement, there are always questions about what goes into the file, and how long those materials must be retained.  The week before last, I conducted a webinar for about 20 state broadcast… Continue Reading

The Limits on FCC Leniency on Fines for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations

Posted in Appearances, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting
In a decision released last Friday, the FCC made clear how far it is willing to go in extending to noncommercial stations leniency for fines for violations of its rules. As we have written before, the FCC changed its policy in a case in which we were involved so as to mitigate harsh penalties for… Continue Reading

Contest Rule Revisions Published in the Federal Register for Paperwork Reduction Act Review – Effective Date Not Until at Least December

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Television
Today, the FCC published notice in the Federal Register of the adoption of the new simplified rules for publicizing the material rules for contests conducted by broadcasters. This publication was for purposes of review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act, a review necessary before any new rules requiring any… Continue Reading

FCC Upholds $50,000 Penalty for Noncommercial LMA Where Licensee Paid More than its Operational Expenses

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
A decision that noncommercial broadcasters should note was released by the Commission last week. The decision was one that upheld a 2012 consent decree where, to resolve objections against the sale of a noncommercial radio station owned by the University of San Francisco, the Media Bureau imposed a fine of $50,000 for a pre-sale LMA… Continue Reading

FCC Revises Broadcast Contest Rules – Allows Disclosure of Material Rules on the Internet

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Television, Website Issues
The FCC yesterday agreed to modernize its contest rules, allowing broadcasters to publicize the material terms of a contest that is conducted by a station through posting those rules on an Internet website, rather than requiring that the material rules be read on the air often enough so that a listener is likely to have… Continue Reading

The Location of the Public Inspection File of a College Radio Station When the Station’s Main Studio is in a Building Not Open to the General Public Addressed in FCC Consent Decree

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
How to deal with a noncommercial radio station’s public inspection file when the station is licensed to a college and has a main studio in a restricted-access student residence hall is a question that I have received repeatedly when I have conducted sessions on FCC rules at noncommercial broadcasters’ conventions and meetings.  In a consent… Continue Reading

How Broadcasters Could Have Big Liability For Texts And Calls under The FCC’s Recent Order on The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, General FCC, Privacy
The FCC recently issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – and that order highlights many issues with broadcasters who use texts or outbound automated calls to the mobile devices of viewers and listeners. In fact, today the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing to fine a… Continue Reading

$90,000 Payment to FCC by TV Owner for Claiming Reruns of One-Time Programs as Meeting “CORE” Children’s Educational and Informational Programming Requirement

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
On Friday, the FCC announced a consent decree for violations of the requirements that TV stations provide at least three weekly hours of CORE programming addressing the educational and informational needs of children. The operator of eight TV and Class A TV stations in the southeast US agreed to make a $90,000 “voluntary contribution” to… Continue Reading

FCC Fines iHeart Media $1,000,000 for Broadcasting EAS Alert Tones When there was No Emergency – What the Big Fine Says to Broadcasters

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
One million dollars is still a big fine, even though the FCC has been handing out fines for that amount, or more, many times in recent months. But fines rarely hit these levels for broadcasters. But, yesterday, the FCC issued such a fine – hitting iHeart Media with a $1 Million fine as part of… Continue Reading

A Seminar on FCC Rules for College Broadcasters – And an FCC Case on the Limits on Leniency on Fines For Rule Violations By Noncommercial Broadcasters

Posted in Appearances, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Last month, I did a seminar at the College Media Association about the FCC legal issues that college broadcasters need to think about – talking about required FCC filings, pubic file obligations, underwriting issues, and programming that can get the broadcaster into trouble. Slides from that presentation, which present only an outline of the more… Continue Reading

FCC Admonishes TV Station for Including Commercial Website Address in Children’s Program – A Good Reminder on Children’s Television Program Restrictions

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
In a decision just released by the FCC, a TV station was admonished for including, in the credits of a TV program, the URL for a website that contained commercial material. As this was deemed by the FCC to be an isolated occurrence, the station was only admonished, not fined for the violation. But the… Continue Reading

Commissioner O’Rielly Proposes to Bring Mandatory FCC EEO Recruiting Into the Modern Era by Allowing Reliance on Internet Resources

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines
In a post on the FCC’s blog, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly proposed allowing broadcasters to meet their EEO wide dissemination obligations solely through Internet sources. As we recently wrote, broadcasters need to widely disseminate information about job openings at their stations, using sources that are designed to reach all of the major groups that may exist within… Continue Reading

FCC Fines: $17,000 for Unsecure AM Tower Fence (Not Owning the Tower Site is No Excuse); $25,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists; $22,000 for Nonfunctioning EAS and Wrong Tower Coordinates

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Tower Issues
A flurry of fines against broadcasters have come out of the FCC in the last week.  These fines highlight the scrutiny under which owners of broadcast stations can find themselves should an FCC Field Office inspector knock on their door.  If the FCC pays a visit and finds a violation, a station is often looking… Continue Reading

Another Fine for Tower Lighting Issues – $20,000 – Warning to Large Companies that Fines May be Enhanced So That They are Not Just a “Cost of Doing Business”

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
A few weeks ago, we wrote about several recent cases where tower owners were fined for not having their towers lights working in the manner that was required by their licenses.  In another case released this week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau decided that a $20,000 fine was appropriate for a tower owner in Alaska whose… Continue Reading

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – TV Renewals, EEO Reports, Lots of TV Incentive Auction Activity, OTT MVPD and Contest Comments, and Last-Minute January Deadlines for Webcasting

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Internet Video, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Television
As in any month, February has many impending deadlines for broadcasters and media companies – many routine regulatory obligations as well as some that are specific to certain proceedings.  First, let’s look at some of the routine filing deadlines.  On February 2, license renewal applications in the second-to-last filing window of this renewal cycle are… Continue Reading

More Big Penalties for Use of EAS Tones in Non-Emergency Programming

Posted in Advertising Issues, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC seems to be making another statement – releasing one decision upholding two very large fines against major cable programmers for improper use of EAS tones in ads for a movie, while just two days later releasing another decision approving a consent decree with a broadcaster imposing a penalty and monitoring conditions for using… Continue Reading

$50,000 Penalty for LMA Operations – No Payments in Excess of Expenses for Noncommercial Licensees, and a Reminder that Licensee Must Remain in Control

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
A consent decree, requiring $50,000 payment to the FCC by the licensee and programmer of a noncommercial radio station, demonstrates two potential problem areas for broadcasters involved in LMA or Time Brokerage (TBA) arrangements.  First, for noncommercial licensees it makes clear that the programmer cannot be paying the licensee any more for the programming time… Continue Reading

Remember Children’s Television Compliance Obligations – The FCC Does Not Forget

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations, Television
With the obligation of television stations to file the quarterly Children’s Television Reports on FCC Form 398 by Monday (as the usual January 10 date is on a weekend) and the simultaneous requirement to place into their online public file documentation of compliance with the commercial limits in Children’s programming, it is worth reminding stations… Continue Reading

Fines of $9000 and $5000 Imposed on Radio Stations for Insufficient EEO Outreach Efforts – Reminder to Review Your Program as EEO Mid-Term Report Cycle Begins in 2015

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Two fines for EEO violations released Friday were among the rush of actions coming from the FCC last week as it tries to finish its work of 2014.  Incentive auction procedures, MVPD redefinition, online public file issues, approvals of long-pending TV company mergers and so many other actions were taken in the last week that… Continue Reading

FCC Sets Dates for Comments on Proposed Changes to Required Disclosures of Broadcast Contest Material Terms

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Television
We recently wrote about the proposed changes in the FCC’s rules about station-conducted contests, here.  The FCC has proposed that much of the required disclosure about the material terms of these contests be allowed to be conducted online, rather than having to be announced on-air often enough so that listeners to the station are likely… Continue Reading

FCC Issues $25,000 Fine to Radio Station Owner for 3 STLs that were A Half Mile from Their Licensed Location

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC
An FCC Regional Director of its Enforcement Bureau this week issued a Forfeiture Order fining a New Mexico broadcaster $25,000 as three of his Studio Transmitter Link auxiliary stations were operating from an unauthorized location – each located about half a mile from where they were supposed to be according to their FCC licenses.  While… Continue Reading

FCC Fines Station $7000 for Violation of Main Studio Rule – Good Reminder on Broadcast Main Studio Requirements

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC issued a Forfeiture Order this week, fining a station $7000 for violations of the main studio rule. The facts of the case were set out in a Notice of Apparent Liability issued back in February, where the licensee had claimed that its studio was in a location that was shared with another broadcaster… Continue Reading

A Week of Emergency Alert System Actions at the FCC – Fines Including One for $46,000 for EAS Tones in a Commercial, and Reviews of Best Practices for the System

Posted in Advertising Issues, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations
Perhaps Sunday’s anniversary of Pearl Harbor made the FCC want to make this week one which concentrated on emergency communications issues, or perhaps it is just a coincidence.  But the FCC has been active in the past 7 days dealing with emergency communications related items for broadcasters.  On Wednesday, it issued a consent decree by… Continue Reading