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Stations Oppose Hurricane Coverage Fine

Attorneys for Waterman Broadcasting's WBBH-TV Fort Myers and WZVN-TV Naples, both Florida, have asked the FCC to rescind—or at least reduce to an admonishment—its $24,000 fine against each for their failure "in three instances lasting a total of 44 seconds," to make emergency information available to hearing impaired listeners during a Florida hurricane last year.

The stations cited their virtual wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Charley for eight days in August 2004, pointing out that they had been praised extensively for it. They also invoked Hurricane Katrina and the praise stations in that region received for their efforts and argued that the FCC's "unrealistic enforcement standards" could discourage full coverage for fear of fines.

The attorneys also said the FCC's Enforcement Division failed to cut the station some slack as a small business under the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, pointing out that the station "has no more than 12 million in revenue."