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Clear Channel, FCC Settle Indecency Cases

Clear Channel, FCC Settle Indecency Cases

Clear Channel Communications and the FCC have reached a settlement that encompasses all indecency cases involving the radio group. Clear Channel has agreed to pay $1.75 million to the U.S. Treasury and admits that some of the material it has broadcast was indecent. The company committed to implementing its so-called “zero-tolerance” policy company-wide in an effort to prevent future violations.
In exchange, the FCC wiped Clear Channel’s record clean, which helps the company tremendously at license-renewal time and if it were to acquire more stations. The agreement is for all indecency cases involving the company, including those in which a fine has been levied, and those cases still pending.
Existing fines are vacated under the agreement and the commission will terminate investigations into pending complaints against Clear Channel. Existing fines were: a total penalty of $755,000 for six stations that aired “Bubba the Love Sponge” Todd Clem, now fired; a total penalty of $247,000 for three stations that aired Elliot Segal and a total of $495,000 against six stations that aired Howard Stern, the Infinity Broadcasting host who’s now off Clear Channel stations.
The agreement is similar to one reached between the FCC and Infinity Broadcasting in 1995 for several indecency violations involving Howard Stern. At that time, Infinity paid a slightly lower fine, $1.715 million, and did not admit guilt.
In both instances, the amounts paid to the government by Infinity and Clear Channel were officially called “voluntary contributions” to the U.S. Treasury.