As expected, the Federal Communications Commission today (Sept. 22) officially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of $550,000 against 20 Viacom-owned CBS TV stations for "apparently

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission today (Sept. 22) officially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of $550,000 against 20 Viacom-owned CBS TV stations for "apparently willfully broadcasting indecent material" during the Feb. 1 Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction."

Last week, Reuters reported that FCC sources had said that the Commission had agreed on the amount of the fine, but a spokesman would not verify the news at the time.

The FCC found that the "partial nudity" during the Super Bowl halftime show "was, in the context of the broadcast, in apparent violation of the broadcast indecency standard." It proposed the statutory maximum amount: $27,500 from each of the CBS-licensed stations that aired the show.

The Commission did not propose forfeitures against non-Viacom-owned CBS affiliates that also aired the material, "because of the unexpected nature of the halftime show and the apparent lack of involvement in the selection, planning and approval of the telecast by these non-Viacom-owned affiliates."

In its announcement, the Commission referenced past fines slapped on Viacom/Infinity over its Howard Stern radio show, saying those punishments were "due to the involvement of Viacom/CBS in the planning and approval of the telecast and the history of indecency violations committed by Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting Corporation subsidiaries."