For the first time during the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission on Monday said it plans to fine a television station for airing sexually explicit material.
A Roanoke, Virginia, station accidentally aired a brief pornographic video clip during its evening newscast on July 12, 2012, in a segment on an ex-porn star who was volunteering for a local rescue squad. The station included a 3-second clip from the woman's website of her posing suggestively, but the station says it didn't notice that the site had an explicit video clip in a box on the side of the webpage.
The proposed $325,000 fine of WDBJ Television is the maximum amount possible under the law.
The FCC has long barred radio and broadcast TV stations from airing indecent material such as curse words and nudity. But for much of the Obama administration, the agency declined to enforce the rules, saying its authority was in legal limbo because of constitutional challenges from broadcasters.
In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the FCC's authority to police the airwaves for indecent content. The FCC settled cases against two radio stations in 2014, but Monday's ruling is the first action against a TV station since 2008.