For immediate release
August 16, 2006
Emily Lenzner, NPR
August 16, 2006: FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein appeared this afternoon on Talk of the Nation, NPR's national news-talk call-in program to discuss with host Neal Conan the FCC's recent decision to penalize TV stations that fail to properly identify corporate press releases which appear to be news stories. In the interview he spoke about possible penalties, including fines, license revocation, and jail time.
Transcribed excerpts of the interview are below. The audio of the complete interview is archived and available at http://www.npr.org/programs/.
Please credit all excerpts to NPR's Talk of the Nation.
+ When asked what's going to come of this investigative and the kinds of penalties involved, Commissioner Adelstein said, "If we do in fact find violations of our sponsorship ID rules, penalties can include fines of up to 32,000 per incident, it can include revocation of a license of a station. And in fact, some of these violations are also criminal acts, which under the law can be prosecuted by the justice department and result in up to a year in jail."
+ When asked under what crime this would be, Adelstein said, "This is a violation of section 507 of the Communications Act, which is basically the Payola rules. This is like the old payola scandals we heard about in the '50s and '60s. If somebody is being paid to put something on the air -- the Congress passed a law saying if you don't say that that is what's going on to the public, if that's not disclosed, that's a criminal act as well as a violation of FCC rules."