Clear Channel Communications is expected to hand over nearly $2 million to the Federal Communications Commission, as the government continues to crack down on allegedly indecent material, including broadcasts by Howard Stern.
Clear Channel, the biggest owner of U.S. radio stations, plans to admit it aired indecent material and pay the FCC $1.75 million to settle several complaints, according to Reuters. The company also plans to make changes to prevent further incidents, including implementing a zero-tolerance policy against alleged on-air indecency.
In April the FCC slapped Clear Channel with 18 citations totaling $495,000 in proposed forfeitures for broadcasting "indecent" material from Howard Stern's morning show in six cities (see "Howard Stern Broadcast Costs Clear Channel Nearly $500,000").
The new agreement, which could be released to the public as early as Wednesday (June 9), would resolve a number of indecency complaints against Stern and several other radio personalities. The $1.75 million penalty is the largest ever negotiated by the FCC for such violations and comes on top of a $755,000 forfeiture that Clear Channel agreed to pay earlier this year for explicit content aired on the "Bubba the Love Sponge" program.
After that incident, Clear Channel fired Bubba and released a statement on March 5 that announced, "We fully accept our responsibility for airing inappropriate content, and our company will accept the consequences."
Federal law bars radio stations from airing sexually explicit content between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are most likely to be listening. Since Clear Channel first threatened to pull Stern's show, Stern has spoken on air about taking his program to a satellite radio station, where this law does not apply.