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Clear Channel Fined $495,000 for Stern Material; First for ‘Per Utterance’

Clear Channel Fined $495,000 for Stern Material; First for 'Per Utterance'

Two significant indecency fines have been issued by the FCC. The commission proposed a total of $495,000 in penalties against six Clear Channel stations for material aired on the “Howard Stern Show” that the agency considers indecent. This is the first time the commission has fined per utterance, rather than treating an entire program as one indecent utterance. The total penalty represents 18 separate indecency fines stemming from material aired on April 9 of 2003 at $27,500 each.
Noting that Stern originates from Infinity Broadcasting, the commissioners told its Enforcement Bureau to open a probe into Infinity’s version of the same Stern program.
The FCC also reminded licensees that license revocation is an option for “serious, repeated cases of indecency violations.”
The material the agency considers indecent is dialogue about the sexual practices of certain cast members and a discussion with a guest about a “purported personal hygiene product” designed for use before sex.
The stations involved are: WBGG(FM), Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; WTKS(FM), Cocoa Beach, Fla.; WTFX(FM), Louisville, Ky.; KIOZ(FM), San Diego, Calif.; WNVE(FM), Honeoye Falls, New York, and WXDX(FM), Pittsburgh, Pa.
In its text of the order, the agency stated it fined Clear Channel the maximum penalty allowed because of the company’s “recent history of airing indecent programming.”