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FCC Transfers One Fine, Proposes Another

The Federal Communications Commission proposed another $25,000 in fines for TV stations that violated its limits on commercials during kids’ TV shows, including the unusual move of transferring the largest fine, $15,000, from one station to the other.

The commission initially fined WZTV Nashville, Tenn., $15,000 for four airings of a commercial that featured the Buzz Lightyear character and aired during a Buzz Lightyear TV show. The FCC considers such "host selling," however fleeting the association, to have converted a show into a program-length commercial.

But the station subsequently discovered that it made yet another mistake. An employee who worked for both stations incorrectly attributed the show to WZTV rather than to its co-owned WUXP-TV Nashville, where the program actually ran.

The FCC agreed to cancel that fine, but the reprieve was short-lived. In an order issued along with that cancellation Wednesday, the commission simply moved the fine to WUXP.

The commission also proposed a $10,000 fine against WTVQ-TV Lexington, Ky., for both exceeding the commercial limits and failing to put all relevant records in its public-inspection files.

The station defended the record-keeping lapse as the result of an ice storm that caused damage to the main studio and a forced relocation during which the files were misplaced. The FCC said it was a willful and repeated violation anyway, along with the ad overages.