Report: $1.5 Million Howard Stern Fine Imminent

Rhett Pardon
NEW YORK — Trade publication Broadcast & Cable reports 18 Infinity Broadcasting Corp. stations that have been airing Howard Stern's radio show will be fined $1.5 million for alleged obscenities.

The Federal Communications Commission’s expected fine will cover the same broadcast that helped to push former Stern syndicator Clear Channel Communications Inc. of San Antonio, Texas, into a $1.75 million settlement with the FCC.

The announcement could come any day now, the trade publication said.

During the show in question, cast member Stuttering John talked about having anal sex with his wife and later Stern led his gang in raunchy talk about oral sex.

The bawdiness of Stern’s show does draw ratings. His show is rated No. 1 for males aged 25 to 54 in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston markets, according to New York-based Infinity.

Stern, anticipating the fine, called FCC Chairman Michael Powell "a crackpot" during a press conference held during Stern's morning show Wednesday.

Federal law bars radio stations and over-the-air television channels from airing references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children may be tuning in. The rules do not apply to cable and satellite channels or satellite radio.

Earlier this week, the broadcast industry was stunned by the announcement that Stern’s syndicated show would appear in nine additional markets, including four where his show was cancelled by Clear Channel Communications for alleged indecency.

Stern announced his program would air on stations in Houston (KIKK-AM); San Diego (KPLN-FM); Tampa, Fla. (WQYK-AM); Pittsburgh (WBZZ-FM); Orlando, Fla. (WOCL-FM); Austin, Texas (KQBT-FM); West Palm Beach, Fla. (WPBZ-FM); Rochester, N.Y. (WZNE-FM); and Fresno, Calif., (KRNC-FM) — all owned by Viacom Inc.'s Infinity Broadcasting unit.

It will debut on the stations beginning on Monday, July 19, bringing the total number of stations that carry the Stern show to 45.