FCC rescinds fine for airing accidental caller

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Producers of radio call-in shows can breathe easier after the FCC last week
canceled a $4,000 fine against WEZB-FM New Orleans.

In February, the FCC issued WEZB a notice of apparent liability for airing a
DJ's conversation with a woman without first obtaining permission.

The woman had dialed the station accidentally.

The commission prohibits airing conversations without the subject's
approval.

On appeal, WEZB argued that the fine was unjust because stations may presume that
individuals who contact call-in programs understand that they could be put on
air.

WEZB said the woman was told twice that she had reached a radio station.

Initially the FCC found that the woman was "understandably confused," but
rethinking the matter found that the circumstances fell within the call-in
presumption.

The case troubled radio lawyers because the presumption would have been
meaningless if stations were required to determine whether callers understood
that they had the right to deny airing of the call.

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