Station Fights Huge FCC Fine

WDBJ (Roanoke, Va.) thinks the FCC went way overboard with their $325,000 fine for the station.

Back in March, FTVLive told you that the FCC hit WDBJ with a $325,000 fine "for apparently broadcasting extremely graphic and explicit sexual content, specifically a video image of a hand stroking an erect penis" during a newscast.

The images popped up in a story about an "ex-porn star" who had joined a local rescue squad.

The station showed a page from an adult website featuring the woman. On the right side of the page were a series of boxes, one of which showed the "indecent" images. "Although the box does not show the entire body or face of the apparently nude male depicted, the image shows a hand moving up and down the length of the shaft of the erect penis.

The station has now officially opposed the FCC’s imposition of the fine. WDBJ says the video was seen for only 2.7 seconds of the far edge of the screen, occupying only 1.7% of the screen area.

WDBJ explained to the FCC that the image was not visible to either the photojournalist who produced the story or to two supervisors who reviewed it.

 “While WDBJ regrets that an offensive image was inadvertently broadcast, we believe that the First Amendment does not allow the FCC to ‘throw the book’ at a station for unintentionally including a fleeting inappropriate image in a newscast about a legitimate story. WDBJ has taken steps to ensure that this kind of incident cannot be repeated. We have asked the FCC to withdraw its proposed forfeiture,” said WDBJ GM Jeffrey Marks. 

We have heard of paying for porn, but this is way out there. 

H/T TVNewsCheck