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Two Idaho radio stations fined for not disclosing who paid for GOP-led political program

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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Two southern Idaho radio stations, including one in Nampa, were fined half a million dollars by the Federal Communications Commission for “willful and repeated violations” of rules related to on-air sponsorship disclosures.
The parent company of the stations, New York-based Townsquare Media, was ordered Wednesday to pay $500,000 to the U.S. Treasury.
The penalty follows an investigation by the Media Bureau, a division of the FCC, which licenses radio stations, that found that KIDO-AM (580) in Nampa and KLIX-AM in Twin Falls broadcast political advertisements and episodes of a hour-long program called “Keep Idaho Red” for over a year without disclosing that it was paid to do so by the Idaho Republican Party and later by Tom Luna, on behalf of Luna’s company Tom Luna and Associates.
Luna and Victor Miller, chairman of the Ada County Republican Party, were the hosts of each episode, and were solely responsible for producing the show and selecting guests, according to the order. Luna, former state superintendent of public instruction, was chair of the Idaho GOP for two years before being unseated by state Rep. Dorothy Moon in 2022.
The order from the FCC said neither station provided on-air sponsorship identification announcements for the “vast majority” of episodes, nor advertisements that would have informed listeners who was paying for the content they were listening to.
The violations occurred between October 2021 and March 2023.
“In addition, multiple episodes of the program contained appearances that constituted uses by legally qualified candidates for public office and communicated messages relating to political matters of national importance,” FCC Media Bureau Chief Holly Saurer said in the order, was first reported by BoiseDev. “Neither station uploaded records of any such candidate uses or messages to their respective online political files.”
Townsquare Media in a consent decree admitted to the violations and agreed to implement a comprehensive plan to ensure future compliance with its sponsorship identification and online political file obligations, as well as submit annual compliance reports to the Media Bureau, in addition to paying the fine.
The media company is publicly traded and has an office off East Park Boulevard in Boise. A call to that office was referred to a Townsquare Media executive who did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Townsquare Media owns several other radio stations that serve the Treasure Valley, including Kiss FM, Lite FM, Power FM, Mix 106 and Wow Country.
The post Two Idaho radio stations fined for not disclosing who paid for GOP-led political program appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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