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Liberman to Pay $110,000 to End Indecency Probe

FCC agreement includes three-year compliance plan

Liberman Broadcasting in Los Angeles has agreed to pay $110,000 and develop a compliance plan to end an indecency investigation conducted by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.

Though the case involves television stations, the issue is of interest to radio as well. Liberman Broadcasting’s audience is primarily the Spanish-speaking community and the company owns television and radio stations in several of the top Hispanic markets.

The investigation stemmed from complaints about programming that included Spanish-language television show “Jose Luis Sin Censura”(“Jose Luis Uncensored”), which aired on select Liberman stations in California, Texas and Utah. The specific stations involved were: KRCA(TV), Riverside, Calif., KPNZ(TV), Ogden, Utah, KMPX(TV), Decatur, Texas and KZJL(TV), Houston.

The commission said the agency received a number of complaints about the show, including complaints filed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Hispanic Media Coalition in February 2011.

Radio and television stations may not air obscene material at all, and may not air indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when children may be in the audience. In this case, the show aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The Enforcement Bureau began an investigation based on all of the complaints that alleged, among other things, that the Jose Luis show on several occasions featured pornographic film performers and exotic dancers “who engaged in behavior inconsistent with the commission’s indecency standards for broadcast programming that is aired during the day and early evening,” according to the FCC.

Liberman admits it aired the material, but denies the programming was indecent; the FCC disagreed. Liberman stopped airing the programin August 2012.

The FCC says Liberman cooperated with the investigation and, as part of the consent decree, committed to several efforts over a three-year period to help ensure future compliance with the broadcast indecency rules.

Under the consent decree, Liberman has agreed to make a “voluntary” $110,000 payment to the U.S. Treasury. Liberman admits it “inadvertently violated the commission’s interpretation” of the indecency regs and in exchange, the FCC stops the investigation.