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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TV Station To Pay $35K For Airing Phone Recording


This story serves as a reminder to radio stations about the importance of telling listeners they're being recorded before hitting that red "record" button. The Commission's Telephone Broadcast Rule requires broadcast licensees to inform any party they call of their intent to broadcast the conversation. It also prohibits broadcast licensees from actually broadcasting a telephone conversation without first informing the party to that conversation that it is being broadcast or recorded for later broadcast. Broadcasts of telephone conversations without such notice are prohibited.

The FCC settled an investigation of Newport Television, former licensee of KTVX(DT) in Salt Lake City, involving the station's recording and broadcast of a person's telephone conversation as part of a news segment without first telling the person that the call was being recorded and would be broadcast. The station admitted to violating the rule. "Consumers rightly expect that their phone conversations will not be surreptitiously recorded and broadcast to the public without their prior knowledge or consent," said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. "We hold broadcasters to high standards and will ensure that they fully respect the privacy rights of consumers."

In August 2012, KTVX (DT) twice broadcast in a news report a recorded telephone conversation with a consumer without prior notification to or the consent of that consumer. In addition, Newport violated the FCC's requirement to respond fully and promptly to requests for information from the Enforcement Bureau. Under the terms of today's settlement, Newport admits that it violated the Telephone Broadcast Rule and that it failed to timely respond to Enforcement Bureau investigative requests. Newport will pay a $35,000 civil penalty for these violations.

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