Orlando’s WFTV-Channel 9 is among seven TV stations across the nation being penalized by the Federal Communications Commission for violations of the Children’s Television Act of 1990. WFTV was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine for exceeding the limits on commercials allowed during kids’ TV shows more than 150 times.
According to FCC documents, the violations were self reported by WFTV during its 2004 license renewal. The station blamed a former employee for not understanding the FCC rules.
Here’s part of what the FCC report said:
“In Exhibit 25, the Licensee reported that the Station exceeded the children’s television commercial limits on 154 occasions during the license term. Of these overages, 153 were 15 seconds in duration. The Licensee appeared to indicate that the remaining overage was two minutes and 45 seconds in duration, and indicated that this overage was caused by a technical failure.
“… The Licensee attributed the overages to human error by the Station’s staff in scheduling the ABC network children’s programs to accommodate the Station’s local news. The Licensee stated that pursuant to its review of the Station’s programming after the departure of the employee handling the Station’s children’s programming responsibilities, it discovered an apparent misunderstanding by this former employee of the Commission’s commercial limits requirements. The Licensee asserted that it took immediate steps to ensure the Station’s future compliance with the children’s television commercial limits. The Licensee also averred that the overages were not motivated by monetary benefit. According to the Licensee, the Station is committed to broadcast and non-broadcast efforts for children and has participated in programs and events dedicated to supporting families and children during the license term. The Licensee requested that in reviewing its admitted overages, the Commission consider the mitigating circumstances7 and the Station’s “record as a licensee with a demonstrated commitment to children and children’s programming.”