FCC Proposes More Kids Fines

The FCC has proposed fining two stations a total of $31,000 for "willfull and repeated" violations of the FCC's kids commercial limits, and has admonished three more for kids TV rules violations.

It is the latest in what has become a steady stream of fines and admonishments.

The FCC caps Kids commercials at 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays. It also considers that any show that incudes an ad featuring a character from that show then becomes a program lenght-commercial and automatically violates the rules.

The commission proposed a fine of $17,500 against WTWB, one of its largest for such a violation, for seven program length commercials. The station said it was human error, but that did not get it off the hook. The baseline fine is $8,000, but the FCC more than doubled it, citing the number of violations.

Viacom's (now CBS') WFBS Miami was fined $8,000 for two program-length commercials and three ad overages of less than 30 seconds apiece. It was also fined $4,000 for failure to maintain the proper records on its kids shows.

Admonished for lesser kids limits violations were WBZL-TV Miami and WWWB(TV) Rock Hill, S.C.

All the overages were volunteered by the stations as part of their applications for license renewal. All have 30 days to challenge or pay up. In either case, the violations are not likely to jeopardize the renewals.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.