FCC enforces letter of the radio phone call law


FCCThe indignities seem never-ending for Nassau Broadcasting. It’s not enough that it’s selling all its stations at bankruptcy auction. Now it’s been hit by the FCC with a fine for running afoul of the phone call rules.

The station in question is WWEG-FM Myersville MD, which serves both the Frederick MD and Hagerstown MD markets with a Classic Hits format over 106.9 MHz.

The complainant in the case said a phone call came from the station at 6AM, and suggested that the station wanted try to “bait” the call receiver “…into a conversation regarding a previous dispute with a neighboring business which conducts considerable business with [Nassau].”

Two calls were said to have been made, but one was cut off without any conversation whatsoever, according to Nassau. It provided the FCC with a transcript of the call that did in fact feature an exchange of words:

* Complainant: “Hello”
* Arrianna: “Hi, is this [Complainant]?”
* Complainant: “Yah”
* Arrianna: “Hi [Complainant], good morning, this is Phil and Arrianna with 106.9 The Eagle.”
* Complainant: “okay”
* Arrianna: “Good morning, how are you doing [Complainant]?”
* Complainant: “Am I on the air?”
* Arrianna: “Technically you’re being recorded right now.”
* Complainant:  “But we are not live on the air?”
* Phil: “But we are not live on the air.”
* Complainant: “Okay well you don’t have any permission to use any of my voice on the radio.”
* Arrianna: “Oh bummer.”
* Phil: “Okay but can we at least discuss with you about tonight and” [recording stopped]

Nassau pointed out that the recording of the call was cut off promptly and no part of it ever made it on the air.

The FCC pointed out that the rules say a station must ask a call recipient before airing OR recording the conversation.

The standard fine for this violation is $4K. The FCC did give Nassau credit for not airing the conversation and cut the liability to $2K.