Local TV

FCC Fines Two Stations Over Ads During Kids' Programs

Forfeiture notice cites KATV Little Rock, Ark., KEB Tulsa, Okla., for violating limits on commercials aired during kids' shows 4/09/2010 03:05:00 PM Eastern

The FCC has fined two TV stations
a total of
$14,400 for violating its limits on commercials in kids
shows,
though in one case the FCC has agreed to reduce the
fine.
According to a forfeiture
notice issued April 9, ABC affiliate
KATV(TV) Little Rock, Ark., is being asked to pony up $8,000 for airing
two ads
for the theatrical movie Doug during the Doug cartoon show. The
violation dates
from February 1999, but the commission did not issue its notice of
apparent
liability until May 2007. The station challenged that, saying the two
commercials were placed in the show inadvertently due to a last-minute
insertion
order by ABC. The station said it had implemented new procedures to
prevent a
repeat of the error.
Given that the overage was the only
such incident
in its eight-year license, term, the station had asked the notice to be
rescinded as "arbitrary and capricious," according to the FCC, pointing
to the
FCC's decision not to fine another station for commercial overages.
The FCC's Media Bureau was not
persuaded, saying
Friday that the station had "willfully and repeatedly" violated its
rules via
the two overages, and saying the $8,000 was in line with other, more
recent,
proposed fines for two, program-length commercials. If a commercial
featuring a
TV character airs in a show featuring that character, the FCC treats the
entire
program as one long commercial. Commercial time in kids shows has to be
limited
to 10.5 minutes on weekdays and 12 minutes on weekends.
It also said
it did
not agree that its decision not to fine another station compelled the
same
result in this case.
In the second forfeiture notice, the
commission
wants KEB(TV) Tulsa, Okla., to pay $6,400 for two June 1999 broadcasts
of a
children's show--it did not name names--that featured an ad for a tape
of the
show and a toy resembling one of its characters. But in this case, the
FCC has
reduced the fine.
The station did not get its notice of
apparent
liability until March of 2007, and argued that the program and ad were
provided
by a syndicator and that it had taken corrective action and informed the
Media
Bureau itself about the apparent violations. The initial notice was for a
$8,000
fine. In this case, the station did not ask that the fine be revoked or
accuse
the commission of being arbitrary and capricious. Instead, it asked that
the
fine be reduced by 20% in light of its 12-year history of no other
violations
and the remedial action taken. The FCC agreed
and reduced the
fine.

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