WLS Fined $44,000 Over Spots That Didn't Adequately ID Sponsor
February 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM (PT)
RADIO LICENSE HOLDING XI, LLC (CITADEL BROADCASTING, now part of CUMULUS) has been fined $44,000 for failing to air required sponsorship identification announcements on Talk WLS-A/CHICAGO.
A complaint alleged that on MARCH 19, 2009, the station aired "program matter on behalf of an organization called Workers Independent News (WIN) without adequately disclosing the fact that it was an advertisement, rather than a news story," the forfeiture order says. The licensee told the Commission that between MARCH 18 and MAY 30, 2009, it did air "program matter" for WIN (45 90-second spots, 27 15-second promotional announcements, two two-hour programs, and one one-hour program, styled as news reports) in return for consideration from WIN (or the promise of consideration). The spots referenced WIN but did not specifically say that the material was "sponsored, paid for, or furnished by WIN."
The licensee asked that the fine be reduced to $4,000 because, it asserted, the Commission should not have "mechanically applied" the fine to each of 11 announcements at issue but rather treated them as one violation. The Commission disagreed with that interpretation.