A fleeting shot of a penis during a live morning show could cost TV station KRON 4 in San Francisco $27,500 for violating Federal Communications Commission indecency rules.
The five-member commission voted unanimously to impose the fine after concluding that the exposure on live TV at 8.25 a.m. violated rules designed to protect children from indecent words and images broadcast between 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
The FCC said the offending shot occurred Oct. 4, 2002, while the host of KRON 4 Morning News interviewed performers in the stage production of Puppetry of the Penis. The agency said the station failed to protect the public from an extremely graphic image when "one of the performers exposed his penis on camera" for an instant.
KRON 4 owner Young Broadcasting Inc. can appeal the fine. Under FCC rules, $27,500 is the maximum permitted.
In a statement approving the fine, Republican FCC member Kevin Martin said that "while hard to believe," the KRON 4 indecency fine was only the second one imposed on a TV station in FCC history.