FCC Issues Forfeiture Order Against KUSI

The Federal Communications Commission issued a Forfeiture Order against KUSI (TV) San Diego for $25,000. The September 17 order relates to KUSI’s coverage of the October 2003 wildfires in which several local TV stations were accused of not providing sufficient graphical emergency information for people with hearing problems. The FCC found that some critical information was provided, but was incomplete compared with vocal information, or delayed more than 30 minutes. The agency disagreed with KUSI’s arguments that they have a "filtering" role, asking why the station was filtering information only for those unable to hear the dialog. KUSI broadcast some maps and graphical emergency information, but did not have real time closed captioning during their extended coverage of the fires.

KFMB-TV settled their Notice of Apparent Liability last March for its lack of visual emergency information during coverage of the 2003 fires with a Consent Decree in which they agreed to make a "voluntary contribution" to the US Treasury for $18,000 and have all charges dropped.

(The author is Director of Engineering for Bay City Television, the US operations company for XETV Tijuana, and was an engineer for KFMB Stations at the time of the 2003 wildfires.)