Sanders backs legislation to increase FCC fines

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(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders is backing legislation that would crack down on indecent behavior on radio and television. The bill, which passed the U.S. House by a wide margin on Thursday, increases the size of fines that the Federal Communications Commission can levy against broadcasters who violate indecency regulations.

Currently the maximum fine is $27,500 per violation. The bill increases the potential penalty to a half million dollars. The bill also allows the FCC to revoke the license of a station that has been fined three times for indecent actions.

Sanders says bigger fines are needed to discourage what he calls “vulgar” behavior on the nation’s airwaves:

(Sanders) “There are some radio shows which kids are listening to which are really really quite vulgar. The problem right now is that the fines that are imposed are so small that for large companies like Clear Channel or Infinity they really don’t mean anything at all. They’re breakfast money.”

(Host) Sanders also backs a provision under consideration in the Senate that would delay the implementation of rules that allow greater consolidation of media groups until the General Accounting Office conducts a study to determine if there’s link between larger media groups and indecency on the airwaves:

(Sanders) “I think to the degree that we have fewer and fewer large companies who are motivated solely by profit making rather than serving the needs to local communities, sure it does. I think sex, violence, sensationalism, vulgarity is what they sell.”

(Host) The Senate is expected to address this issue in the near future.

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