The requirements placed on broadcast television licensees to serve the needs of local children are tripping up some stations – and since most of these requirements involve the public file in one way or another, the penalty can be quite hefty. Let’s take a look.
* WUSA-TV Detroit, Detroit Free Press Inc. The station failed to publicize the existence and location of its Children’s Television Programming Reports on-air from January 2008 through January 2010. The FCC places this in the file category of regulation, and a base forfeiture is $10K. In this case, it reduced it down to $2K.
* WTOC-TV Savannah GA, Raycom. The station experienced an audio failure a few minutes into a children’s program, which the station’s engineer decided to attempt by resetting the program server. As a result, an infomercial aired in the time slot, creating a commercial overage of some 20 minutes beyond that allowed on children’s programming. The FCC let this one go with a simple admonition.
* WUPA-DT Atlanta, CBS, aired a inadvertently aired a commercial that had fleeting and limited images of characters in the children’s programming being aired – thus according to the rules making the airing a program-length commercial. The station was admonished.
* WJMY-CA Demopolis AL., TTI Inc. (Tuscaloosa). Failed to file its Children’s Television Programming Reports with the FCC on seven occasions during its most recent license period. Failing to file a required report carries a base fine of $3K, and that is the amount of the fine the station received.
* WOTH-CA Cincinnati OH, Elliott B. Block. It failed to file three Children’s Television Programming Reports entirely, and every other one going back to 2006 was filed late, and were placed in the public file late as well. The FCC hit it with a $10K fine and added $3K for failure to file a required report for a $13K total fine. The station could have but did not lose its Class A status – however, the FCC noted that it wished to be relieved of the Children’s reporting requirements, it could request a downgrade to LPTV status at any time and the FCC would gladly grant it.