Children’s Television Fines On The Rise

Posted on August 1st, 2013 by

TV license renewals are providing a steady stream of “revenue” for the FCC’s coffers.  Previously, we’ve reported on a number of Class A television stations being fined for not filing quarterly FCC Form 398 Children’s Television Reports.  Those stations continue to receive fines, though they have an option to return to low power television status and skip the fine.  Now, full power television stations are coming under the microscope too.

Based on the dizzying number of stations being fined, we were curious enough to go back and run the numbers on children’s television fines for the month of July, and the grand total is $202,000.  That’s in one month, on children’s television related fines only.  About 25 stations were fined amounts ranging from as low as $3,000 to as high as $20,000.  In many instances, the FCC is increasing the fine because stations have not voluntarily disclosed their late or non-filings in their renewal application.  That should be a lesson to any station owner filing for renewal – if filings have not been made on time, or documents not placed in the public file on time, those circumstances mean that a station cannot check “yes” to the required certification statement on the renewal form.  If you do, you open the door to being fined, or worse, to being accused of lacking candor with the Commission.

We cannot see the future, but we feel comfortable making a prediction that the FCC’s children’s television fines are not over.