Do you know what all the hosts on your syndicated programs are saying? If you’re not taking their shows live, you may want to spend a weekend listening. What just happened to Salem may help you stay out of the financial penalty box with The FCC.
The Federal Communications Commission says it has a longstanding goal of protecting consumers by ensuring that the public knows when certain program material is “live,” rather than taped, filmed, or recorded. Salem violated that rule and has agreed to pay the $50,000 penalty for that violation.
The show, hosted by Robert Marshall, promotes itself as “an exciting talk show that delivers cutting edge research on immune system health, natural hormones, optimal energy skin levels and joint health.” It’s website says calls are taken Monday through Friday 4:30 to 5:00 pm and Saturday 11 am to 12 pm (CST).
KRLA is running the show from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday. However, while the host was airing his show live and taking calls, KRLA was not identifying to listeners that the show was recorded and those calls were taped, not live.
Section 73.1208 of the FCC’s rules requires that “[a]ny taped, filmed or recorded program material in which time is of special significance, or by which an affirmative attempt is made to create the impression that it is occurring simultaneously with the broadcast, shall be announced at the beginning as taped, filmed or recorded.”
KRLA admitted to The Commission that the show was pre-recorded and that other Salem stations carried the show and did not announce before the broadcast that the programming was taped or recorded; that at several times during the show, the host suggested that he was taking calls from listeners and speaking with them live over the air; and that the title of the show and the apparent interactive discussions with callers suggested to a listener that the Show was being presented live.
That’s a no-no as far as the FCC goes.
Salem has agreed to the $50,000 penalty and a 3-year compliance plan. That plan includes:
– To appoint a corporate manager to oversee a compliance plan
– To submit the plan to The Commission within 60 days
– Develop a company compliance manual explaining the live broadcast rules
– Establish a compliance training program
– File a detailed report with The Commission after 90 days, 1 year, 2 years and 3 years.
Broadcast attorney John Garziglia, who wrote about this topic back in 2016, had this to say after reading the Salem ruling: “Since this FCC rule was adopted, much has changed with the production and delivery of broadcast station programming. Voice tracking was non-existent when this FCC rule was adopted as well as easy digital methods to delay programming. Because of changes in program delivery over the past several decades, it may be observed that while the FCC issued a pointed but brief decision invoking this pre-recorded programming rule based upon a complaint, the regulatory agency failed our regulated industry by reviving this rule without a full explanation of its current-day applicability to modern programming practices.”
Read the Salem Consent Decree and Order HERE