Saturday, April 24, 2004

$4,000 fine for station that cranked Castro

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- A radio station that crank-called Cuban President Fidel Castro and broadcast the recording should be fined $4,000, the Federal Communications Commission said.

The Spanish-speaking hosts of "The Morning High Jinks" used snippets of an earlier prank involving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to move the call from a receptionist up the chain to Castro in a five-minute broadcast June 17.

The hosts of the show on WXDJ-FM, Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos, fed pleasantries to Castro before breaking in and calling him an assassin. The conversation ended after Castro denounced the callers with a stream of vulgarities.

The FCC concluded Friday that the station should be fined for the broadcast. It rejected the station's claim that a rule requiring people to be notified before their voices are used does not apply to people in Cuba.

Payment of the fine or a request for cancellation or reduction is required within 30 days.

It was unclear whether the station had been fined for the prank involving Chavez five months before.

There was no answer at the station's business line Saturday, and a call to the station's Washington attorney was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.