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Liable for indecency

A broadcast licensee does not escape liability for indecency violations when it is sold by its parent company, the FCC has ruled.

In upholding a $16,800 fine against WLDI Inc., licensee of WCOM(FM) Bayamon, P.R., the FCC ruled that the transfer of ownership of licensee WLDI from Chancellor Media to Spanish Broadcasting in January 2000, three months after the sanctioned material was broadcast, did not affect WLDI's culpability. "In many cases," the FCC said, "the entity's employees remain with the company after a transfer. If the employees (or the prospective transferor) knew that the licensee would be insulated from forfeiture actions for violations preceding a transfer of control, they would have less incentive to comply with the law."

Also, the FCC held a station liable for indecent remarks of a guest from MTV's Jackass
catching an interviewer off guard with a joke about knifing an infant's rectum. Rubber City Group, operator of WONE-FM Akron, Ohio, was fined $7,000. The FCC found that WONE-FM should have anticipated the "questionable nature of the guest's material" because a station employee admitted that past Jackass
guests had "a penchant for 'getting a rise out of people.'"