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FCC Renews 3 More TV Licenses

12/29/2005 04:18:00 AM Eastern

The FCC renewed three more Hearst-Argyle TV licenses Thursday, while admonishing two of the three stations for failing to keep proper records of their compliance with Kids TV programming rules.

The third station had actually violated the kids TV ad limits on numerous occasions, but the FCC concluded the overages--only 15 seconds each--were inadvertent.

Getting new 8-year leases on life were WLWT(TV) Cincinnati, WBAL(TV) Baltimore and KHOG-TV Fayetteville, Ark. Both WLWT and WBAL were admonished (official warnings) for record-filing lapses, which WBAL blamed on office remodeling, with WLWT saying the records had been in the file but somehow disappeared.

The ADMONITIONS (the FCC upper-cases them in its notices) came becase the FCC does not accept inadvertence as a defence, or as the FCC puts it: "Where lapses occur in maintaining the public file, neither the negligent acts nor omissions of station employees or agents, nor the subsequent remedial actions undertaken by the licensee, excuse or nullify a licensee’s rule violation."

But the commission also concluded that the omissions did not show a pattern of abuse and that the stations served the public interest.

KHOG-TV Fayetteville, Ark., conceded it had exceeded the limits on ads in children's TV programming (12 minutes on weekdays, 10.5 on weekends) by 15 seconds 13 different times.

Maybe it's something about Arkansas, but the owner's KHBS-TV Fort Smith also said in its license renewal application that it had exceeded the limit by 15 seconds on 13 occasions.

Actually, the connection was not Arkansas but the same programming move. Both stations explained that the overages were the result of the repositioning of a show from an hour kids block to a stand-alone half hour.

THe FCC accepted the explanation and on Dec. 28 approved the KHBS license without admonition. It did the same with KHOG Thursday.

The FCC has proposed fines, admonished, and approved licenses without any action in cases of kids programming record-keeping and ad-limit violations, but it has yet to designate any license for hearing over the violations.

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