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Emmis, FCC Agree: $300,000 to Settle Indecency Claims

Emmis, FCC Agree: $300,000 to Settle Indecency Claims

Emmis and the FCC have entered into a consent decree that settles outstanding indecency cases against the broadcaster for $300,000.
The money is officially considered a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury, according to the commission.
Emmis admits that some of the material it aired was indecent and commits to implementing a company-wide plan aimed at preventing future violations.
“Earlier this year we adopted an aggressive policy to ensure that Emmis provides quality, compelling, on-air content that conforms to decency standards,” Emmis President and CEO Jeff Smulyan stated.
“We announced a zero tolerance policy and are taking extraordinary steps to educate our on-air employees and program directors. The consent decree settles all pending indecency-related issues, and allows us to move forward.”
The case settles $42,000 worth of fines against WKQX(FM), Chicago and more complaints that were pending.
As Clear Channel and some other radio groups have done, Emmis plans to introduce an obscenity and indecency training program for its on-air radio and TV talent.
Employees accused of airing such programming will be suspended and the company will investigate. If he or she is permitted to return to the air, future material would be subject to a delay of up to 5 minutes.
Should the FCC issue a fine or other proposed action against Emmis for obscenity or indecency, involved employees will be fired.
Clear Channel reached a similar agreement with the commission in June for $1.75 million.
FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps said they feel better about this agreement than about the Clear Channel decision because more complaints against Emmis had been investigated before the deal was reached.
However, Copps still finds the practice troubling because “it takes an entire part of the record off the table” at license renewal time.