Powell Declares Victory In Clear Channel Settlement
June 9, 2004
The FCC announced this afternoon that it has entered into a $1.75 million consent decree with Clear Channel to resolve investigations into whether the company's stations had broadcast obscene, indecent or profane material in violation of its rules. As part of the agreement, Clear Channel admits that some of the material it broadcast was indecent.
The settlement resolves all pending Notices of Apparent Liability, Enforcement Bureau investigations, and third-party complaints for possible indecency rule violations. Included in the check Clear Channel will write to the U.S.Treasury are a March 12 $247,500 NAL for WWDC/Washington's Elliot Segal, a March 18 $55,000 NAL against what was then WZZR/Ft. Pierce, FL and clustermate WCZR, and the April 8 $495,000 fine that resulted in the dismissal of Howard Stern from six of the company's stations.
In wiping its slate clean, Clear Channel doesn't have to worry about indecency complaints for at least 200 additional broadcasts the Commission has yet to rule on. It also removes the indecency issue from possible discussion when the company's stations come up for license renewal.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell heralded the agreement as "a significant victory for the Commission and the public." But Commissioner Michael Copps said the consent decree "reaches too far and grants too much."
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