It’s time for our annual April Fools Day warning – be careful with on air pranks prepared especially for the day. This year, with the tragedy caused by the Australian morning show hosts calling the nurse for the Duchess of Cambridge, broadcasters have an example of what can happen when an on-air prank goes wrong. Where harm is caused, lawsuits may follow, and stations could become a target if someone is hurt as a result of a station’s broadcasts. But not only do stations need to worry about potential civil liability in a case like this, the FCC itself has a rule against on-air hoaxes – and, of any day in the year, April 1 is the day that the broadcaster is most at risk. The FCC’s rule against broadcast hoaxes, Section 73.1217 , prevents stations from running any information about a “crime or catastrophe” on the air, if the broadcaster (1) knows the information to be false, (2) it is reasonably foreseeable that the broadcast of the material will cause substantial public harm and (3) public harm is in fact caused.
Posts Tagged ‘programming’
April FCC Obligations for Broadcasters – Renewals, EEO, Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Captioning of Live or Near-Live Online Programming, FM…
April is one of those months in which many FCC obligations are triggered for broadcasters. There are the normal obligations, like the Quarterly Issues Programs lists , that need to be in the public file of all broadcast stations, radio and TV, commercial and noncommercial, by April 10 . Quarterly Children’s television reports are due to be submitted by TV stations. And there are renewal obligations for stations in many states, as well as EEO Public File Reports that are due to be placed in station’s public files and on their websites. The end of March also brings the obligation for television broadcasters to start captioning live and near-live programming that is captioned on air, and then rebroadcast on the Internet . Finally, there are comment deadlines on the FCC’s proposal to relax the foreign ownership limits , and an FM auction and continuing FM translator filing requirements.