Regulators are reluctantly prepared to let radio shock jock Howard Stern’s employer buy Los Angeles station KRTH-FM — backing away from earlier threats to block the deal, the New York Times and Washington Post reported in today’s editions.
The Federal Communications Commission discussed penalizing Stern’s employer by nixing the purchase, but the FCC is concerned such drastic punishment would be overturned in court, said the newspapers.
It is the legal question that will lead to a favorable decision by Tuesday for Infinity Broadcasting Corp. of New York, the newspapers reported.
Infinity’s prize property, Stern, has angered regulators for years with his radio talk of sex — resulting in heavy FCC fines against Infinity for allegedly violating the indecency standard. The company is contesting the fines.
FCC members Andrew C. Barrett and Ervin S. Duggan are prepared to approve the transfer of the broadcast license of KRTH-FM, said the newspapers, quoting unidentified sources.
A third commissioner, James Quello, told AP on Thursday night “I don’t know how it’s going to go” but that he will talk today with Barrett and Duggan about their plans.
Quello said he could abstain — a step which would block action because of lack of a quorum, but he said he doubts he’ll do that.