FCC Upholds 'Bubba' Fines

FCC Upholds 'Bubba' Fines
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The FCC has upheld $30,000 in fines against Citicasters Co. for airing what the commission considers indecent material on four occasions during morning drive. The penalties stem from as early as 1997 when Citicasters owned WXTB(FM), Clearwater, Fla. The station has since been owned by Jacor Communications and now Clear Channel Communications.

Citicasters does not deny it aired the programming in question from local personality "Bubba the Love Sponge" during morning drive, which is outside the so-called "safe harbor" of 10 p.m.-6 a.m. for material the commission considers indecent.

Some of the bits the FCC deemed indecent included discussions of eating, sex and an air gun (Radio World, Sept. 16, 1998).

But Citicasters said the FCC needs to issue long-awaited indecency guidelines before it can properly answer the commission about why the fines should be dismissed or reduced.

The FCC rejected Citicasters' argument and upheld the fines. The commission said its indecency definition "has remain unchanged for years," and in "specific rulings, we have amply illustrated what broadcasters may and may not do."

Citicasters had 30 days (from June 28) to pay.

Leslie Stimson

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