Political Broadcasting: FCC Issues $60K Fine for Sponsorship ID

The FCC just issued a proposed $60,000 fine and a consent decree to a station for violating sponsorship ID rules. While the case involved an LPTV station, the ruling should serve as a warning for all stations.

The FCC staff claimed that the LPTV station was airing paid-for appearances by legally qualified candidates in what appeared to be a local news program without disclosing that the candidates had actually paid to be in the news segments. The Bureau found that the station was offering candidates the opportunity to purchase an “All-in-One” advertising package for $1,500 which explicitly included advertising spots and a personal live interview in the news program.

In addition, the station accepted money from several commercial entities in exchange for interviewing their spokespersons on the news program, again without the required sponsorship ID.

The FCC’s decision can be found here.

Additional analysis from noted Communications attorney David Oxenford can be found here.