Howard Stern radio program on Sirius Satellite Radio is not an acceptable compromise
NEW YORK (6 October 2004) -Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following ADDITIONAL comments about today’s announcement that the Howard Stern Radio show will be moving from broadcast radio to Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006.
“Earlier today, I was interviewed by two media outlets in response to the announcement that the Howard Stern Radio show will be moving from broadcast radio to Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006.
“What I said during those two interviews—namely, that Stern on Sirius was a compromise that I would try to live with—was based on my mistaken assumption that Stern’s program would be carried on the same basis that the new ‘Opie and Anthony’ show is carried on XM Satellite Radio. To receive ‘Opie and Anthony’ on XM, listeners must pay an additional fee, much like cable TV subscribers must pay to get HBO or Showtime.
“I loathe HBO and Showtime, but if non-obscene but filthy, indecent and lewd programming is to be permitted on TV, premium channels like HBO of Showtime are the place for it.
“Now, along comes Sirius Satellite Radio, which describes its programming as consisting of ‘a variety of music, news, talk, sports, children’s and other entertainment’ [emphasis mine]. It is, of course, this same mixture of programming that is suitable for a general audience with programming intended for an audience of morally challenged young adults that has created the problem we have in broadcasting and basic cable.
“Sirius informs parents that ‘some programming may contain explicit language…We are not responsible for content that you or anyone else may find appropriate…’ Well, if the company that provides the programming and reaps big bucks in profits from it is not responsible, who is? The sometimes equally irresponsible parents?
“Reasonable people may differ as to whether non-obscene but filthy, indecent and lewd burlesque ought to be permitted in a ‘free society.’ But to my knowledge, no one is claiming the right to perform burlesque in a public park. Yet, because of lax FCC enforcement of thebroadcast indecency law, ‘Howard Stern’ has been permitted for years to befoul the public airwaves with a mean spirited form of filthy, indecent and lewd burlesque.
“Now that the FCC finally appears to be moving in the direction of fulfilling its statutory responsibility to enforce the broadcast indecency law, Stern announces that he will move to a satellite radio medium that is virtually identical to broadcast radio, except that listeners pay a monthly fee instead of paying through the purchase of products and services that are advertised in broadcasting.
“Judges with a radical libertarian bent will undoubtedly see an important distinction here, but more reasonable and honest citizens will recognize a distinction without a difference when they see it, particularly when children, the privacy of the home and a decent society are at stake.”