FCC Fines Three TV Stations for Kids’-TV-Rules Violations
KTBY-TV Anchorage, Alaska, Tagged with $20,000 Penalty
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/26/2007 8:58:00 AM
KTBY-TV Anchorage, Alaska, took a novel approach to trying to avoid Federal Communications Commission sanctions for commercial overages in kids’ shows, but the FCC hammered it anyway -- another station was pummeled by Cocoa Pebbles.
The FCC's Media Bureau Friday proposed fining KTBY-TV and two other stations a total of $40,000 for kids’-TV-rules violations.
KTBY-TV got hit with the biggest fine -- $20,000 -- for exceeding the FCC's limits on commercials in kids’ shows a total of 38 times, including three overages of 15 seconds and 35 of 30 seconds.
The licensee volunteered the information as part of its license renewal, also pointing out that it had sought to compensate by running 30 seconds less of commercial time than allowed in subsequent shows so that "there will have been no commercial overages when assessing the license term as a whole."
The station also failed to publicize the existence of its public reports on compliance, except where it obviously didn't, with the commercial limits and other kids’-TV rules.
The FCC said the magnitude of the overages justified the fine, which is double the baseline $10,000 forfeiture, adding that the corrective actions did not compensate for past violations in which "children have been subjected to commercial matter greatly in excess of the limits contemplated by Congress when it enacted the Children’s Television Act of 1990." Those limits are 10.5 minutes on weekends and 12 minutes on weekdays.
Getting hit with $10,000 fines apiece were Freedom Broadcasting's KFDM-TV Beaumont, Texas, for airing a program-length commercial (another case of The CW Cocoa Pebbles ad, with fleeting images that have gotten others in trouble) and for failing to publicize its kids’-TV-programming reports; and Southwest Media's KCSG-TV Cedar City, Utah, for failure to file or publicize various reports about commercial compliance and other issues.
The FCC cited the extent and number of those omissions, which covered numerous quarters over several years.
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