• Broadcaster Settles FCC Indecency Charges
  • August 25, 2004
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • The parent company of a Chicago radio station has agreed to pay $300,000 in a deal with federal regulators to resolve complaints of indecency against a disc jockey, Erich Muller, known by the nickname Mancow.

    Under a consent decree announced August 12, 2004 by the Federal Communications Commission, the Emmis Communications Corp. admitted that some of the material broadcast over WKQX-FM was indecent, but did not specify which material.

    The FCC order settles all investigations into whether Emmis stations broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material in violation of federal law and FCC rules. The agency said Emmis had committed itself to a plan to prevent future violations.

    Jeff Smulyan, Emmis's chief executive, said the decree would allow the company to move forward. "Earlier this year we adopted an aggressive policy to ensure that Emmis provides quality, compelling, on-air content that conforms to decency standards," Mr. Smulyan said in a statement. "We announced a zero-tolerance policy and are taking extraordinary steps to educate our on-air employees and program directors."

    The FCC's order settles nine complaints: three of them involved seven broadcasts in 2000 and 2001 that had already produced a $42,000 fine, and six other pending complaints.

    Significance: The FCC continues to push forward with its indecency campaign, hitting broadcasters with heavy fines and pressuring broadcasters to settle complaints that have been pending for years. (See the July 12, 2004 issue of [email protected] for a report on Clear Channel Communication's record settlement with the FCC.)