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FCC To Slap Clear Channel on Indecency

Washington—At deadline, the FCC was putting final touches on a proposed $495,000 indecency fine against six Clear Channel stations for a Howard Stern broadcast. Stations owned by Infinity Radio, which syndicates the country's top shock jock, could also face fines for the same broadcast when a separate review is completed. Stern was dropped from the Clear Channel stations in February, the company said, because of the FCC investigation and the general crackdown on indecency.

Why Not Two Upfronts?

New York—An industry committee to consider changes in how the upfront ad-sales process is conducted will have its first meeting April 29. The committee, dubbed NUDG (Network Upfront Discussion Group) will comprise representatives of advertisers, ad agencies, broadcast and cable networks, and syndicators, plus a handful of lawyers.

The committee, spearheaded by the Association of National Advertisers, will address such issues as the timing of the upfront and whether it should be moved to a different month or even split into two "half-year" selling seasons. Also up for discussion: the possibility of a "closing bell" each night during upfront negotiations.

Women Score for ESPN

New York—ESPN garnered its best basketball rating ever for its telecast of the April 6 NCAA women's college basketball tournament final.

The University of Connecticut-University of Tennessee matchup attracted 5.58 million viewers and a 4.3 household rating. That's more than any college or pro game, including men's basketball, in ESPN's 25-year history.

Overall, the women's tournament averaged a 1.5 rating on ESPN, up 36% from last year.