Cumulus to Pay Largest Sponsorship ID Fine

By on Jan, 7 2016 with Comments 0

FCCdoorCumulus and the FCC agreed to settle an investigation into whether the radio group violated the commission’s sponsorship ID rules.

As part of the consent decree, Cumulus agreed to pay a $540,000 civil penalty — the largest single amount for a single-station violation of the agency’s sponsorship ID laws.

The probe began in 2011 and centered on WOKQ(FM), Dover, New Hampshire after someone complained the station aired announcements supporting a hydro-electric energy project without specifying the company with a financial interest in the project was actually behinds the ads.

The station aired 178 of the announcements, according to the commission.

Cumulus admitted to violating the rule that says paid programming sponsors must be clearly identified.

In addition to paying the fine, Cumulus will begin a compliance plan across 195 stations that includes “enhanced operating procedures, employee training on sponsorship identification laws, and a hotline for reporting violations of the compliance plan,” according to the agency.

The company will pay the U.S Treasury in 36 monthly installments of $15,000 each, according to the consent decree.

Contacted by RBR+TVBR, Cumulus had no comment at press time.

About The Author: Leslie Stimson has been a reporter for 35+ years, starting in radio news. She’s spent the last 20 years reporting for radio trades.

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