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Category Archives: FCC Fines

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FCC Proposes To Amend Rules Governing Broadcast Contests – Suggests Allowing Disclosure of Material Terms of the Contest on the Internet

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Website Issues
The FCC on Friday proposed to amend its rules governing contests conducted by broadcast stations by allowing the required disclosure of the material terms of the contest on the Internet, as an option for broadcasters in lieu of the current requirement that these disclosures be made by broadcasting them on-the-air a reasonable number of times.  … Continue Reading

Formal Proceedings to Begin to Revise Rules for Broadcasters’ On-Air Contests and Expand the Online Public File Obligations to Radio, Cable and Satellite

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Since our note Friday about November regulatory dates for broadcasters, it’s become clear that the FCC will be acting on two more matters of interest to broadcasters – particularly radio broadcasters though each have some implications for TV as well.  First, as we hinted at the end of our article on Friday (the rumors that … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Cable System $2.25 Million for Retransmitting TV Stations Without Consent

Posted in Cable Carriage, FCC Fines, Television
The FCC yesterday issued an order imposing a $2.25 Million fine on a set of companies that operated a system that retransmitted TV signals to households in large housing units in the Houston area.  The system had paid retransmission consent fees to the TV stations, then stopped doing so, claiming that it was changing so … Continue Reading

Be on the Alert for EAS Tones in Non-Emergency Situations – Big FCC Fines for These Violations and Other EAS Issues

Posted in Advertising Issues, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
The FCC has recently staked out a policy that the any use of EAS tones, or tones that sound like those alerts, outside of a real emergency, will lead to big fines.  Since the beginning of the year, the FCC has issued notices proposing fines totaling over $2.2 million against some of the biggest media … Continue Reading

$44,000 Fine for 11 Missing Sponsorship IDs for Radio Station 45 Second Spots – Emphasizes Importance of Strict Compliance with All FCC Programming Rules

Posted in FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations
In a decision released this week, the FCC fined a Chicago radio station $44,000 for omitting sponsorship identification announcements on 11 on-air spots promoting the positions of the sponsoring organization on certain issues facing the local community.  Finding that the purpose of the sponsorship identification rules (Section 317 of the Communications Act and Section 73.1212 … Continue Reading

Radio Station Being Silent Too Long Brings FCC Sanction – How Long Can a Broadcast Station Be off the Air Before It Causes Trouble at License Renewal Time?

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In a decision released yesterday, the FCC proposed to fine a station and gave it a short-term license renewal as the station could not demonstrate that it had served the needs and interests of its community.  Why?  Because the station had been silent for much of the renewal term – only turning on for a short time … Continue Reading

Ten Years After Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Clothing Malfunction, FCC Indecency Rules Remain in Limbo

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Indecency, License Renewal, Programming Regulations
Last night’s Super Bowl didn’t offer much in the way of excitement on the field, as the game was seemingly over by the end of the first half.  But, for the last decade, the half-time show itself may offer some anxiety to the stations carrying the game.  10 years ago, Janet Jackson had her infamous … Continue Reading

Two $20,000 FCC Fines for EEO Violations Demonstrate the Importance of Notifications of Job Openings to Community Groups

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines
In two decisions released this week, the FCC proposed to fine two broadcast groups $20,000 each for EEO violations.  In recent years, when the FCC releases fines for broadcast EEO violations, they seem to be trying to emphasize a point as to some aspect of the EEO rules by releasing multiple decisions at the same … Continue Reading

Odds and Ends: Extension of Biennial Ownership Report Deadline, $110,000 Penalty for Indecency, Deadline for UHF Discount Comments, and Closing of the LPFM Window

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Television
Last week brought a number of Washington developments that we’ll write about in more detail soon, including the FCC’s decision to relax the limitations on foreign ownership of broadcast stations.  But there were also a number of other actions that bear mention – including the decision released late Friday to extend the deadline for the … Continue Reading

Penalties of $39,000 and $25,000 Assessed For Video Programming Containing Fake EAS Messages

Posted in Advertising Issues, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
The FCC is cracking down hard on television stations and cable companies who use EAS alerts – or even simulations of such alerts – in advertising, promotions, and programming.  In two orders released this week, the FCC imposed big penalties on video companies who used fake EAS alerts in commercial messages.  In one case, it … Continue Reading

More Big FCC Fines for Children’s Television Violations

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, Low Power Television/Class A TV
Fines of $20,000 for violations of the obligations to prepare and file Children’s Television Reports have been flowing out from the FCC as it works its way through license renewal applications filed by television stations over the last year. We wrote about a number of these fines here, when the first wave of fines was issued … Continue Reading

FCC Fines of Up to $18,000 Proposed for 7 TV Stations For Failure To Timely File Children’s Television Reports – The Big Renewal Issue for TV Stations?

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
In at least 7 decisions released last week, the FCC fined TV stations between $3000 and $18,000 for failure to timely file Form 398 Children’s Television Reports – reporting on the programming broadcast by the stations to address the educational and informational needs of children. In these cases, the fines were not for failing to file the … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts More Lenient Standards on Certain Fines to Student Run Noncommercial Broadcast Stations

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Fines against noncommercial stations may that are primarily student run may not be as harsh as they have been in the past under a ruling issued by the FCC’s Media Bureau earlier this week. The new policy came about as part of a consent decree entered into by an Iowa college-owned broadcaster whose student-run station had … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Up to $25,000 for Tower Issues Including Lighting and Painting Issues, Inadequate Fencing, Tower Registration in Wrong Name and No Posted ASRN

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Failing to properly maintain a communications tower can be expensive, as a number of FCC decisions released in the last few days demonstrate. In several decisions reached in the last week, the Commission faulted tower owners for all sorts of problems – tower lights being out without letting the FAA know, faded paint, missing fencing around … Continue Reading

$11,000 Fine for Broadcast Station Tower Light Outage – FCC Emphasizes the Responsibility of Licensee To Maintain Lights if Tower Owner Does Not

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Fines for broadcast station tower owners who fail to maintain the required lighting on their tower are not unusual. But in a decision last week, the FCC made clear that, even if the licensee of a broadcast station is not the tower owner, it still has the responsibility for dealing with tower lights that are out, … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Report on Nationwide EAS Test And Refers to the Enforcement Bureau Stations That Did Not Submit the Results of the Test – Could Fines Follow?

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
Almost a year and a half ago, the FCC held its first ever test of the EAS system designed to alert the country in the event of a nationwide emergency. On Friday, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a report on the results of the test. While there have been many articles in the … Continue Reading

On April Fools Day – Remember the FCC’s Hoax Rule!

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC
It’s time for our annual April Fools Day warning – be careful with on air pranks prepared especially for the day. This year, with thetragedy caused by the Australian morning show hosts calling the nurse for the Duchess of Cambridge, broadcasters have an example of what can happen when an on-air prank goes wrong. Where harm … Continue Reading

Noncommercial Radio Operator Fined $10,000 for Not Providing Immediate Access to Public File – FCC Provides A Good Primer on the Public File Rules for All Radio Broadcasters

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The FCC proposed that a noncommercial broadcaster be fined $10,000 for its failure to allow a visitor unquestioned and immediate access to the public inspection files for 6 noncommercial radio stations operated from the same main studio. Though the delay in allowing access was only a few hours long, that delay, together with questions asked of the person … Continue Reading

Another $4000 FCC Fine for Radio Station that Fails to Disclose All Material Rules of a Broadcast Contest the First Time the Contest was Announced

Posted in FCC Fines
The FCC has upheld a fine issued to a radio station licensee for what it determined was a failure to disclose all the rules of a broadcast contest. The giveaway was of "the Ultimate Garage" and the FCC determined, in response to a complaint, that the station had failed to disclose all of the material rules … Continue Reading

$14,000 FCC Fine for Tower Violations – Obstruction Light Out, No FAA Notification and Failure to Update Antenna Survey Registration to Report New Owner

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
In a Notice of Apparent Liability, the FCC proposed a $14,000 fine on a broadcaster for a series of violations with respect to its tower. The FCC found that the station failed to have the required lights on the tower operating after sunset on at least two days, failed to notify the FAA of the outage … Continue Reading

$18,000 FCC Fine for Operating Earth Station with Expired License Reminds Broadcasters That Not All of Their Licenses are Covered During the License Renewal or Assignment and Transfer Approval Process

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, License Renewal
Both radio and TV broadcasters either have recently completed the license renewal process, or will be doing so in the next few years. Many broadcasters think that, once their broadcast licenses are renewed, so too are all of the other communications licenses that are operated in connection with their station. While that may be true for broadcast … Continue Reading

$4000 FCC Fine for Radio Station’s Misleading Contest Announcements Provides Summary of Recent Decisions on Contest Rule Violations

Posted in FCC Fines
The FCC has fined a Boston radio station $4000 for airing misleading announcements on the radio station as to the nature of the prize to be awarded in a station contest. In addition to an interesting set of facts in this case, the FCC’s decision also reviews several other recent decisions in explaining why it came … Continue Reading

Tragic Australian Radio Prank – US Broadcasters, Don’t Try This At Home

Posted in FCC Fines
An Australian radio team was reported to have called the hospital where Princess Kate - Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge – was being treated.  This prank has now apparently had tragic consequences, in that the nurse from whom the team received information has seemingly committed suicide. Even before the unexpected terrible outcome was known, it was very clear that this … Continue Reading

FCC Inspection Issues for Broadcasters – Auxiliary Licenses, Chief Operator Designations, and Tower Issues

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC
What should broadcasters worry about from an FCC inspection? A few weeks ago, I was speaking at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention. At the convention, I attended a session conducted by an FCC field inspector and the engineer who conducts the "alternate broadcast inspection program" ("ABIP") for the KAB.  We’ve written about the ABIP program … Continue Reading