FCC upholds first fine levied against Stern
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission upheld its first indecency fine in late October against Infinity Broadcasting Corp. for a Howard Stern show. The fine, a $6,000 penalty for allegedly indecent programming, was issued for Stern’s “Christmas Party” broadcast in December 1988.
The commission issued a notice of apparent liability for forfeiture in November 1990 to radio stations WXRK-FM in New York, WYSP-FM in Philadelphia, and WJFK-FM in Manassas, Va., alleging each of the stations aired indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. According to the letter, the show contained frequent, explicit sexual references made in a pandering and titillating fashion. The FCC considered the show to be an example of patently offensive speech aired during the hours children are more likely to be in the audience.
The commission assessed each station a $2,000 fine for its violation.
Following the allegedly indecent 1988 broadcast, the FCC fined Infinity $105,000 in October 1992, $600,000 in December 1992, and $500,000 in August 1993. Also in August 1993, Americom Las Vegas was fined $73,750 for a Howard Stern broadcast.
Evergreen Media in Chicago is also challenging the FCC’s indecency rules because of a $6,000 fine for a broadcast by its own morning show hosts Steve Dahl and Gary Meier.