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KELS-LP/Greeley CO Fined $15,000 For Airing Commericials


FCC
FCC

The FCC has found that Plymouth Gathering Inc.'s KELS-LP/Greeley, CO, apparently violated the Commission's rules for Noncommercial educational (NCE) stations on multiple occasions. Specifically, over a three-month period in 2018, Plymouth aired over 1,600 advertisements on KELS-LP promoting the products, services or businesses of at least 14 financial contributors. As such the agency proposed a penalty of $15,000 against Plymouth for its violation of statutory provisions and the Commission's rules prohibiting commercial advertisements on NCE stations.

There are numerous ways in which underwriting announcements can violate the Commission's rules. The agency identified 14 announcements made on behalf of 14 for-profit entities apparently exceed the bounds of what the Underwriting Laws permit. Eleven announcements make prohibited promotional references by employing comparative and/or qualitative language to describe products or services. Nine announcements made prohibited promotional references by using pricing language and/or offering inducements to do business. Six announcements make prohibited promotional references by employing "menu listings" of products or services. At least six announcements are greater than 30 seconds in length; some are close to or exceeding 60 seconds in length.

The Commission's rules sets a base forfeiture of $2,000 for violations of the enhanced underwriting requirements. In this case, it appears that, over a three-month period in late 2018, the KELS broadcast 14 separate advertisements more than 1,600 times in total. The agency concluded that the licensee is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of $15,000 for willfully and repeatedly violating the Underwriting Laws.

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