The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $233,000 fine against four Cumulus Media subsidiaries for apparent violations of sponsorship identification rules, and for apparently failing to promptly self-report these violations despite an agreement to do so under a prior Consent Decree with the Enforcement Bureau.
According to an FCC summary, in 2011 a Cumulus subsidiary failed to adequately identify the sponsor of announcements broadcast on a New Hampshire radio station. As a result, in 2016 the company entered into a Consent Decree in which it agreed to pay a civil penalty, adopt a compliance plan and report any subsequent noncompliance with the sponsorship ID rules within 15 days.
But now the FCC says that in 2017 and 2018, seven Cumulus radio stations apparently failed in 26 instances to air appropriate sponsorship identifications as required. In addition, it continued, Cumulus waited nearly eight months before reporting certain violations to the bureau, in violation of its commitments in the 2016 Consent Decree.
The proposed action is formally a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, or NAL, and neither the allegations nor the proposed sanctions are final. Cumulus had an opportunity to respond, and the FCC will consider the company’s evidence or legal arguments before resolving the matter.
Radio World requested comment Cumulus and will report any reply.
The commission said this action advances its goals of protecting consumers by ensuring that they know who is attempting to persuade them, and of protecting broadcasters and sponsors from unfair competitors that fail to abide by the sponsorship disclosure rules. It also said it is committed to making sure that parties comply with consent decrees and other FCC orders.