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SBS Hit With $25,000 Phone Fine

8-22-2012

It's a problem for every morning show: the inability to surprise listeners when trying to prank them, because you have to tell them they're being recorded first. It's a rule that's prompted some companies to fake the calls and turn them into theater. And SBS personality Moonshadow (pictured) found out just how serious the FCC is when it comes to this rule. The commission alleges Moonshadow and another employee recorded two telephone conversations for a segment called "You Fell for It," without providing notification to the called parties. SBS tried to fight the allegations by hinting the calls may not have actually taken place.

Here are the details of the complaint. During the first call, the SBS employees are accused of pretending to be an intruder hiding under the called individual's bed. Upon learning the call was meant to be a joke, the person called became upset. In a second call, Moonshadow pretended to be a loan shark, attempting to collect a debt. SBS confirmed the "You Fell for It" bit does air and that it originates from WSKQ-FM in New York City and is simulcast on the Puerto Rico stations -- WZNT-FM in Puerto Rico is the station listed in the FCC's notice of apparent liability.

SBS fought the NAL because it said the commission lacked evidence (there was no recording of the call). The commission said that the segment was found to be similar to those identified in other complaints against other SBS-owned stations (such as WSKQ-FM) that have been found in violation of the telephone broadcast rule.

Read the NAL HERE

In the end, the commission shot down all of the SBS arguments and upheld its fine of $25,000.



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