Noncom ‘Ads’ Cost Long Island University

It settles with the FCC and will pay $24,000
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Having been turned in on an anonymous complaint — apparently from a group of commercial radio stations in the area — Long Island University will pay $24,000 and adopt a compliance plan in order to settle an FCC investigation.

The school has entered into a consent decree with the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission in a case involving underwriting acknowledgements on noncommercial stations WLIU(FM) and WCWP(FM), owned by the school.

The case dates to 2007. The anonymous complaint alleged that the stations had aired advertisements in violation of the underwriting laws on several dates.

The compliance plan includes a review procedure, staff training, a plan to educate prospective underwriters and a schedule of reports to the commission for the next three years.

The enforcement staff at the FCC acknowledged in its ruling that although noncom educational stations may not broadcast advertisements, “it is at times difficult to distinguish between language that promotes vs. that which merely identifies the underwriter and is consistent with the commission's rules and decisions establishing compliant underwriting announcements. Consequently, the commission expects licensees to exercise reasonable, ‘good faith’ judgment in this area, and affords some latitude to the judgments of licensees who do so.”

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