Stern gets news exemption from FCC

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Responding to a request from Infinity Broadcasting Corp., the Federal
Communications Commission’s Media Bureau said Tuesday that interviews with
political candidates on Howard Stern’s radio show qualify as bona fide news and
are exempt from equal-opportunity requirements.

The bureau also effectively gave notice that similar shows need not seek
declaratory issues.

"Although we take this action in response to Infinity’s request, we emphasize
that licensees airing programs that meet the statutory news exemption, as
clarified in our case law, need not seek formal declaration from the commission
that that such programs qualify as news-exempt programming," the bureau
said.

Originally, the exemption applied to only traditional political
question-and-answer programs, such as Face the Nation or Meet the
Press
, but the commission loosened the definition in 1984.

Saying Donahue segments qualified for the exemption, the FCC said
nontraditional forms could earn the exemption, as well as news segments in
otherwise entertainment shows. Subsequently, Jerry Springer, Sally
Jessy Raphael
and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher all
qualified.

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