INFINITY SETTLES WITH FCC!
Cash Quiets FCC!
According to published reports, Infinity Broadcasting has settled with the FCC over indecency charges stemming from Howard's show. Infinity agreed to pay the FCC $1.7 million in exchange for all current indecency charges to be dropped. The actual amount of the "voluntary contribution" to the US Treasury was $1,175,000, $9,000 more than the total value of fines the FCC was looking to impose. They also have to tell their on-air personalities (Stern, Imus, Liddy, etc...) to be aware of the indecency rules being imposed by the FCC. This is the largest fine or "voluntary contribution", as the FCC puts it, ever paid by a broadcaster. However, a plus for Infinity and Howard is the fact that neither had to admit to doing anything wrong in this settlement that includes 5 indecency citations that span a 6 year period. Howard's boss, Mel Karmazin said that while he felt Howard's off-color show would not be found indecent in any court, he felt that the settlement would "conserve the time, expenses and human resources of the parties" involved.
In my opinion, timing was key in this announcement. It's no coincidence that this was made public today (9/2/95), the day after Howard went on a 10 day vacation. The FCC likes to announce things involving Howard when he's on vacation so that he can't react instantly or when big things are about to happen such as his new book, movie or project X. You bet he's gonna be pissed. But what does this really mean? Are Mel and Infinity hedging their bet that if Howard leaves as promised, they can kiss and make up with the FCC so that any future business dealings such as new station aquisitons will have no problem being approved? The truth is that Infinity must now and forever deal with the FCC but their dealings with Howard may be coming to an end, even if he signs on for another 5 years. But will he?
*The Following Is How Corporate Owners/Managers Really Think*
If I were Mel and thought that Howard was leaving my employment and that I had to deal with the FCC on just about every regulatory issue that affects my business, I'd have to say that I'd not only be making nice with them, but probably doing other things, too dubious to mention, to secure a more positive attitude towards my company now that the alleged problem is gone. Time and business march on and this may truly be a sign of the times.
Supports Rumor Mill
Rumor has it that Howard may be signing with SW Networks, a programming syndicator that will allow him the freedom to expand his show into many cities and pay him the money he deserves for the ratings he can bring to any given station. Imagine Howard free of Tom Chiusano and the delay detail. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Saturday Post Cover Courtesy of The NY Post. ©1995 - All Rights Reserved.
©1995 The K.O.A.M. Newsletter. All Rights Reserved.