Tuesday, February 11, 2014

FCC Upholds $44G Fine Against WLS-AM

A proposed fine against WLS 890 AM, in Chicago, has progressed to a forfeiture order to the tune of $44,000, according to RadioWorld.

Cumulus Media owns the station the FCC says violated the sponsor ID rules. The licensee disputes that and asked for the fine to be reduced.

The case began in 2009 when the Enforcement Bureau received a complaint that the station aired a program on behalf of the Workers Independent News without making it clear that the program was an ad, rather than a news story.

WLS told the commission it aired several ads of various lengths, promos, two two-hour programs and an additional half-hour program on behalf of the group. The station asserted all of the ads referenced “Workers Independent News” and identified the narrator, but did not specifically state that the program material was sponsored, paid for and provided by WIN.

“Despite this omission,” states the FCC in its decision, WLS contended the material satisfied the sponsor ID requirements except for 11 of the ads. The agency disagreed and proposed the $44,000 fine in 2012.

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