The Federal Communications Commission has cited the Howard Stern show for indecency and fined Infinity Broadcasting $6,000 because of a program aired Dec. 16, 1988. In a letter dated Thursday, the FCC found that the program "contained frequent and explicit verbal references to sexual activities and organs that were lewd and vulgar and that, when taken in context, were made in a pandering and titillating fashion."
Mel Karmazin, president of Infinity -- which owns WXRK-FM in New York, WYSP-FM in Philadelphia, and WJFK-FM (106.7) in Northern Virginia, from which the Stern show is simulcast -- said yesterday that the company will respond to the FCC within the required 30 days and intends to "point out why they were not correct in their assessment."
During the show cited by the FCC, Stern used such words as "penis," "wiener" and "masturbate" and discussed lesbianism.
The FCC obtained a partial transcript of the program from Infinity last year after it received a letter from a New Jersey woman who had heard the show on the New York station. Karmazin said the FCC received no other complaints from listeners.
Last December, Infinity's attorneys responded with a 200-page letter to the FCC's initial inquiry, arguing in part that Stern had not said anything that had not been said on such television shows as "Geraldo." But the commission contended that while offering "a frank discussion about sexual technique," the TV program titled "Unlocking the Great Mysteries of Sex" was not presented in "a pandering, titillating, vulgar, or otherwise patently offensive manner."
Yesterday morning on the air, Stern asked the FCC, "Why do you go after me? Why don't you go after Geraldo? ... You bunch of goofs!"
Karmazin said Infinity has spent more than $100,000 in legal fees to argue the case and expects to spend more. Nevertheless, the attention to Stern will probably pay off for the company. After receiving the FCC's letter, advertising rates at all three stations were raised, Karmazin said. Greaseman Suit Dismissed
A $10.7 million civil suit against Doug "Greaseman" Tracht and the owners of WWDC-FM (101.1) stemming from an April 1985 telephone bit was dismissed Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.
"It's gone away to everybody's satisfaction," Tracht said yesterday, offering few details. "All I can say is there was no judgment against me. It's history."
The suit, filed in 1986 by a Virginia woman and man -- known only as "Jane Doe" and "John Roe" -- named Tracht and brothers Morton, Howard and Stanley Bender, who own the station, as defendants. It claimed that the Greaseman "knowingly, willingly, and maliciously" made false and defamatory statements about Jane Doe on the air.
The story began with listener John Roe's phone call to Greaseman requesting that he call his girlfriend at the University of Virginia with a greeting on her 21st birthday. The suit alleged that Greaseman rigged the on-air call, using an actress who falsely identified herself as "Jane Doe." The bit was that a man answered the phone at 6:45 a.m., then handed it to the woman who said she had been "cuddling close" with him.
The bit was replayed at 8:30 a.m. for an estimated 63,000 listeners.
The plaintiffs broke up over the incident. Their attorney, Glenn H. Carlson, refused to discuss the case. Oops, Wrong Ink Color
WPGC-AM (1580) program director Donna Francavilla says the business station is operating in the black and not in the red, as reported here last week. Doug Hill Moves to WLTT-FM
After nearly a month off the air at country station WMZQ-AM/FM (1390/98.7), WUSA-Channel 9 weatherman Doug Hill has signed "a very comfortable" contract with adult contemporary WLTT-FM (94.7). Hill, who was on the air yesterday morning getting to know host Dave Adler, said the station's management approached him with a contract offer and that WMZQ opted not to match it.
"They set me free. It was quick and painless," Hill said yesterday. He declined to discuss the contract's length or his salary.
Hill's weather predictions had been heard on WMZQ for the past two years. His addition to WLTT's lineup follows the months-old hiring of WRC-TV's movie critic Arch Campbell, who is heard Friday mornings on the CBS-owned station. With all the added talking, it's probably only a matter of time before the station drops its "light rock, less talk" slogan. Tech Talk at WAMU-FM
Some WAMU-FM (88.5) listeners outside the District had difficulty hearing the station during the weekend because power was reduced to install a new antenna and replace the decades-old transmission line. The line connects the American University studio to the top of the 428-foot tower at the edge of AU's baseball diamond. Also on the tower are antennas for WPFW-FM (89.3), WMMJ-FM (102.3) and WGMS-FM (103.5), and an auxiliary antenna for WPGC-FM (95.5).