Lawyers for Los Angeles radio station KLSX-FM asked the federal government to withdraw a proposed $ 105,000 fine levied as a result of 12 broadcasts by syndicated New York shock jock Howard Stern.
KLSX claimed in a 36-page response filed Wednesday that few children actually listen to Stern’s show, and community standards have changed considerably.
“Whatever the number of unsupervised children within reach of KLSX’s signal during the 6-11 a.m. period, virtually none of them are listening to the Howard Stern program,” the appeal said, citing independent research.
The Federal Communications Commission decision to fine the station was based on fears that children younger than 12 could be exposed to Stern, whose show often contains sexual material.
The commission also has proposed a $ 600,000 fine against Infinity Broadcasting Co., which employs Stern and owns his New York radio base, WXRK-FM, and another 17 AM and FM stations across the country. Infinity has said it would appeal that fine.
The KLSX response, which cited First Amendment protection of free speech, also documented a 1989 survey of Stern’s New York audience by the Gallup Organization that showed no unsupervised children, age 6 to 11, listen to the Stern show.
The FCC voted Oct. 27 to fine KLSX based on complaints filed by Al Westcott, a Las Vegas man who monitored the New York-based program in Los Angeles. KLSX had 30 days from that date to either pay or appeal the fine.
The Stern show, which is syndicated to 10 cities, is currently the No. 1 rated morning show in L.A., New York and Philadelphia.
The original FCC complaint filed by Westcott said the Stern program contains language “that describes sexual and excretory activities and organs in patently offensive terms.” Moreover, the material was broadcast “when there was a reasonable risk that children may have been in the audience.”