KMTP Fined $10,000 for Running Ads

KMTP-TV, a noncommercial educational station in San Francisco, lost its bid to escape a $10,000 FCC fine for running ads.

When the issue came to the attention of the agency in 2000, Minority Television Project, Inc., licensee of KMTP, argued that the spots in question complied with the FCC's rules on underwriting announcements. Those rules prohibit noncommercial broadcasters from running spots intended to "promote any service, facility or product" of for-profit entities, in exchange for money. Contributors may, however, receive "on-air" acknowledgments.

Minority argued that the line was thin, and requested a Petition of Declaratory Ruling seeking the commission's approval of their on-air announcements. AT&T Broadband, the cable provider at the time, and Lincoln Broadcast, licensee of KTSF, a commercial station in Brisbane, Calif., opposed Minority's request and complained that KMTP had been violating the announcement rules since mid-1999. The FCC subsequently levied a Notice of Liability - a fine - against Minority in the amount of $10,000, which Minority responded to with request that it be rescinded. The Dec. 23 Forfeiture Order effectively denied that request.