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$1.5 million fine for Stern?
Regulators set to fine radio broadcaster Infinity for shock jock's on-air comments, report says.
July 2, 2004: 11:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Continuing a crackdown on radio and TV broadcasts deemed indecent, regulators will propose that Infinity Broadcasting be fined $1.5 million for on-air comments by Howard Stern and his crew, a news report said Friday.

The Federal Communications Commission penalty is directed at the 18 Infinity stations that aired a 2003 Stern show in which cast members discussed anal sex at length, Broadcasting & Cable Today reported.

If levied, the fine would be among the highest ever brought by a government against a broadcaster for salacious programming.

The record was set last month when Clear Channel Communications (CCU: down $0.24 to $36.15, Research, Estimates) agreed to a $1.75 million settlement with the FCC over the same broadcast. That fine surpassed the $1.7 million that Infinity paid in 1995 to settle indecency charges filed against Stern.

In response to the FCC scrutiny, in April Clear Channel dropped Stern from all six stations carrying his morning show.

Friday's news report also stated that Infinity, owned by Viacom (VIAB: up $0.29 to $35.80, Research, Estimates), is expected to appeal the FCC fine and, if that fails, to take the dispute to court.

In a news conference this week, a feisty Stern called FCC Chairman Michael Powell "a crackpot" and vowed to fight what he termed the country's "cultural war."  Top of page

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