WRDQ Faces $20K Fine for Ad Overages

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The FCC has proposed fining WFTV-TV Holdings Inc., licensee of WRDQ Orlando, Fla., $20,000 for that station's repeated violations of commercial limits in kids programming (10.5 minutes per hour on weekends, 12 per hour on weekdays), as well as for failing to provide necessary information to electronic programming guides and keeping incomplete program logs for public inspection.

The FCC also separately admonished the station--an official reprimand in its record--for not keeping the accurate logs.

But despite "willful "and "repeated" constituting 59 separate instances of too many commercials, 22 of them involving more than a minute in overages per hour and 11 of those more than three minutes more, the FCC renewed the station's license, saying that the violations did not represent a "serious violation" or "pattern of abuse" sufficient to trigger a hearing on the license.

The licensee, which had volunteered the violations in filing for the renewal in October 2004, pleaded staff turnover, human error, and confusion over the rules, saying the overages were not an attempt to make more money.

The FCC has fined numerous stations for children's TV ad violations in the last few months as it works through the license renewal process, but it has yet to designate any for hearings.

The WRDQ fine is the largest of the recent spate of proposed fines, which the FCC attributes primarily to WRDQ's "high" number of violations.

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