It’s Official: FCC Doesn’t Know the Time of Day.

by on March 28, 2006 · 24 comments

The indecency fines imposed recently by the FCC have raised a lot of eyebrows, for their inconsistency as well as severity. (See Adam Thierer’s excellent discussion here.) Now, however, the FCC’s basic competence is at issue. According to Communications Daily, among the fines handed down by the Commission two weeks ago were several on stations in Indiana which aired the CBS show “Without a Trace.” Turns out however, that the stations aired the shows at 10 pm, when such content is allowed, not at 9 p.m. as the FCC believed. Apparently, the ever-vigilant regulators at the Commission didn’t know that most of Indiana is in the Eastern, not Central, time zone.

Certainly, Indiana’s time zones are confusing–the state is split between two time zones, and doesn’t go on Daylilght Savings Time. But, really, how hard could it be for the FCC to look these things up? A good Google search would have provided the answer, as would the maps in the front part of any phone book. (No doubt the FCC has lots of phone books around.)

The extra effort would seem well-justified–the stations involved were fined some $162,000 for their “violations.” That kind of money could buy an awful lot of watches.

The episode is (or should be) embarrassing to the Commission, and troubling for the rest of us. If the regulators can’t even get the time of day right, what are the odds they are getting the harder questions right? One more reason to question the whole notion of FCC speech regulations.

Perhaps it’s time for a change.

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com Precision Blogger

    You’re being incredibly unfair to the FCC. The FCC is just beginning to model itself on the slick workings of the patent office. What’s SUPPOSED to happen is that the people who developed “Without a Trace” are responsibe for figuring out the time zone discrepancy and bringing it to the attention of the FCC. The injured party (who gets fined) is not supposed ot bring ANYTHING to the FCC’s attention. By trusting show developers to right all of its wrongs in costly proceedings, the FCC frees iteself to act quickly and decisively, levying punitive fines in less than a decade after the infraction. Have some respect!!!
    - Precision Blogger

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com Precision Blogger

    You’re being incredibly unfair to the FCC. The FCC is just beginning to model itself on the slick workings of the patent office. What’s SUPPOSED to happen is that the people who developed “Without a Trace” are responsibe for figuring out the time zone discrepancy and bringing it to the attention of the FCC. The injured party (who gets fined) is not supposed ot bring ANYTHING to the FCC’s attention. By trusting show developers to right all of its wrongs in costly proceedings, the FCC frees iteself to act quickly and decisively, levying punitive fines in less than a decade after the infraction. Have some respect!!!
    - Precision Blogger

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com Precision Blogger

    You’re being incredibly unfair to the FCC. The FCC is just beginning to model itself on the slick workings of the patent office. What’s SUPPOSED to happen is that the people who developed “Without a Trace” are responsibe for figuring out the time zone discrepancy and bringing it to the attention of the FCC. The injured party (who gets fined) is not supposed ot bring ANYTHING to the FCC’s attention. By trusting show developers to right all of its wrongs in costly proceedings, the FCC frees iteself to act quickly and decisively, levying punitive fines in less than a decade after the infraction. Have some respect!!!
    - Precision Blogger

  • dmarti

    Parts of Indiana go on Daylight Savings Time, and parts don’t. It’s on a county-by-county basis. What Time is it in Indiana?

  • dmarti

    Parts of Indiana go on Daylight Savings Time, and parts don’t. It’s on a county-by-county basis. What Time is it in Indiana?

  • http://zgp.org/~dmarti/ Don Marti

    Parts of Indiana go on Daylight Savings Time, and parts don’t. It’s on a county-by-county basis. What Time is it in Indiana?

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Based off the list of proposed fines at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-18A1.pdf, and the link provided by Don which led me to http://www.state.in.us/film/location/timezone.html, I’m trying to figure out the time at each station.

    Station – City – County – Time
    WEVV – Evansville, IN – Vanderburgh – 9 PM
    WTHI – Terre Haute, IN – Vigo – 10 PM
    WISH – Indianapolis, IN – Marion – 10 PM
    WLFI – Lafayette, IN – Tippecanoe – 10 PM
    WSBT – South Bend, IN – St. Joseph – 10 PM

    There you go.

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Based off the list of proposed fines at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmat…, and the link provided by Don which led me to http://www.state.in.us/film/location/timezone.html, I’m trying to figure out the time at each station.

    Station – City – County – Time
    WEVV – Evansville, IN – Vanderburgh – 9 PM
    WTHI – Terre Haute, IN – Vigo – 10 PM
    WISH – Indianapolis, IN – Marion – 10 PM
    WLFI – Lafayette, IN – Tippecanoe – 10 PM
    WSBT – South Bend, IN – St. Joseph – 10 PM

    There you go.

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Based off the list of proposed fines at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmat…, and the link provided by Don which led me to http://www.state.in.us/film/location/timezone.html, I’m trying to figure out the time at each station.

    Station – City – County – Time
    WEVV – Evansville, IN – Vanderburgh – 9 PM
    WTHI – Terre Haute, IN – Vigo – 10 PM
    WISH – Indianapolis, IN – Marion – 10 PM
    WLFI – Lafayette, IN – Tippecanoe – 10 PM
    WSBT – South Bend, IN – St. Joseph – 10 PM

    There you go.

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Also, based off of http://titantvguide.titantv.com/apg/ttv.aspx?siteid=1073, WTHI at least shows “Without a Trace” at 10 pm.

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Also, based off of http://titantvguide.titantv.com/apg/ttv.aspx?si…, WTHI at least shows “Without a Trace” at 10 pm.

  • WhiskeyJuvenile

    Also, based off of http://titantvguide.titantv.com/apg/ttv.aspx?si…, WTHI at least shows “Without a Trace” at 10 pm.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    It’s not that the FCC can’t tell time, it’s that they are run by and take advice from a bunch of puritancal, anti-sex prigs who think we need to be kept from watching a simulated “teen orgy” because of the alleged mandate of a mythological being (i.e. “God.”).

  • Akira MacKenzie

    It’s not that the FCC can’t tell time, it’s that they are run by and take advice from a bunch of puritancal, anti-sex prigs who think we need to be kept from watching a simulated “teen orgy” because of the alleged mandate of a mythological being (i.e. “God.”).

  • Akira MacKenzie

    It’s not that the FCC can’t tell time, it’s that they are run by and take advice from a bunch of puritancal, anti-sex prigs who think we need to be kept from watching a simulated “teen orgy” because of the alleged mandate of a mythological being (i.e. “God.”).

  • eric

    Akira, do you really think if you polled a representative sample of Americans, the majority would be indifferent to teen orgies being depicted on prime-time broadcast TV? I don’t know what the results of such a poll would be, but surely many of those who desire standards for television (my guess is it would be a plurality if not a majority) could not be dismissed with the label you have put on those running the FCC.

  • eric

    Akira, do you really think if you polled a representative sample of Americans, the majority would be indifferent to teen orgies being depicted on prime-time broadcast TV? I don’t know what the results of such a poll would be, but surely many of those who desire standards for television (my guess is it would be a plurality if not a majority) could not be dismissed with the label you have put on those running the FCC.

  • eric

    Akira, do you really think if you polled a representative sample of Americans, the majority would be indifferent to teen orgies being depicted on prime-time broadcast TV? I don’t know what the results of such a poll would be, but surely many of those who desire standards for television (my guess is it would be a plurality if not a majority) could not be dismissed with the label you have put on those running the FCC.

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