$12,000 Consent Decree Payment Demonstrates FCC Concerns About Sponsorship Identification Policies


A consent decree entered into by a radio broadcaster, which included a $12,000 "voluntary contribution" to the US Treasury, demonstrates once again the FCC's concerns about sponsorship identification issues. The week before last, we wrote about the FCC fine levied on a television broadcaster for not including sufficient sponsorship information when a "video news release" was broadcast on a local television station without disclosing that the video footage had been produced by the automobile company whose products were featured. The recent FCC Report on the Information Needs of Local Communities (formerly known as the Future of Media report) also focused on the need for more disclosure in connection with sponsored material carried on broadcast stations and other media (see our summary here). With a long outstanding Rulemaking proceeding on these issues that remains unresolved (see our summary here), the Commission almost appears as if it is setting its policies in these areas through case law rather than through the rulemaking process.

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