An ABC affiliate in Washington DC, Allbritton Communications Company’s WJLA-TV, was subject of a complaint that it was running promotional material during newscasts without identifying the sponsor, and has settled the matter with the FCC via a consent decree.
In general, under terms of a consent decree, the accused company and the FCC agree to resolve a matter in dispute to save the time and resources of each. The company admits no guilt, and emerged with a basically unblemished record, while at the same time taking steps to correct the problem it is not admitting to and making a voluntary donation to the US Treasury. This one is no exception.
According to the FCC, it began digging into charges from the complaint “…alleging that various broadcasters, including the Licensee, had solicited paying sponsors for promotional segments that were featured in the stations’ news coverage.” The FCC offered no clues as to which other stations were named in the complaint.
WJLA was said to have “…policies and procedures to deter employees from engaging in conduct that violates the Sponsorship Identification Laws, but is willing to adopt a new plan in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of Licensee’s efforts.” WJLA will also submit compliance reports to the FCC within 90 days, and then on the anniversary of the consent decree for the next three years.
It will also make its voluntary contribution to defray the national debt in the amount of $21K.