Label-free analog TVs not fine with the FCC


The FCC is not sitting around and waiting to enforce its new rules requiring that all analog-only television receivers still on store shelves come with a prominently-displayed warning label. The new requirement became official on 5/25/07. On 6/4/07 FCC Enforcement Bureau officials went out into the field and caught six retailers with their labels down. The guilty parties are all well-known: Kmart, CompUSA, RadioShack, Best Buy, Circuit City and Target. Each was slapped with an official citation and warned that if they're caught again, the consequences will most likely hit them in the wallet.

Fines for violation of the labeling requirement amount to a maximum of 11K per instance, with a 97.5K ceiling on a fine for a single continuing violation. The retailers were invited to respond to the citation via personal interview at an FCC field office convenient to corporate headquarters or via written statement. The FCC also released a pair of consumer advisories, entitled "Buying the Right TV: What Every Consumer Should Know" and "Closed Captioning for Digital Television."

TVBR observation: This will no doubt please John Dingell (D-MI) and Ed Markey (D-MA), who are pushing for a comprehensive FCC strategy on getting consumers up to speed by next week. However, we can't remember ever coming across an FCC consumer advisory in our off-hours capacity as telecommunications civilian. We find it unlikely that any more than a handful of private citizens will stumble across these documents, and the handful that do are likely not the ones who need to be brought up to speed. Will the mainstream press shine a little light on this? At least one outlet, the New York Times, ran a story on the topic published 6/7/07, despite the fact that it no longer has a direct self-interest, having sold off all of its television properties. Will your station run something?