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WHTZ Phone Call Case Ends

FCC ends probe into possible phone violations

The FCC and Clear Channel have come to an agreement over whether WHTZ(FM) violated commission rules by airing a recorded phone conversation without permission of one of the people involved.

Responding to a couple of complaints, the Enforcement Bureau began investigating the big New York City-area station in 2007. The agency twice asked the station about the call.

WHTZ admitted it did record a conversation for broadcast without getting permission to air the call from one of the participants, according to the commission. FCC rules state a station must receive parties’ permission to air a call before they begin to record the conversation.

The FCC and the station agreed to end the litigation over the issue. The FCC agreed to close the WHTZ probe while the station, without admitting guilt, agreed to draft a compliance plan within 90 days and follow that for three years.

As part of the plan, WHTZ will make what is termed a voluntary $20,000 contribution to the U.S. Treasury and establish a training program for employees whose duties would include recording and airing phone calls. Current employees would be trained annually and new employees would take the training when they join the station.

The station agreed to designate one of its employees to supervise compliance with FCC rules. WHTZ will file regular compliance reports with the commission.