When Howard Stern returns from his spring vacation, he may be staring down a big, ugly new fine. According to Broadcasting & Cable, that rumored imminent fine against Infinity for the Stern show is due in the next week -- and it will be in the six-figures. The report suggests the new proposed forfeiture will be the first where the Commission treats different utterances in the same show as separate violations. That's something they've been threatening to do since moving indecency to the front burner this year. In multiple recent rulings, including one against Infinity stablemates Deminski & Doyle, the commissioners have repeatedly warned broadcasters they could impose separate fines for the same broadcast.
A new fine would be the second against Stern in as many months. On March 18, it slapped Infinity with a $27,500 Notice Of Apparent Liability for a July 26, 2001 Stern show that aired on WKRK/Detroit. Infinity has 30 days from that notice to pay or contest the fine.
B&C says the new fine against Stern won't be the last. The Commission has several complaints under review and it's not clear which one it will act on first. One that would make Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) very happy is the Feb. 24 show that turned him and Viacom COO Mel Karmazin into pen pals. That show, which included a graphic interview with Paris Hilton's old boyfriend and resulted in Stern's suspension by six Clear Channel stations, is reportedly one of the cases under review.