September 10, 2003

MIM says FCC can find the ‘Howard Stern Show’ indecent, even if it is a ‘bona fide news program’


NEW YORK (10 September 2003) – Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following comment in response to the FCC’s ruling that the Howard Stern radio program is a “bona fide news interview program.”

“Yesterday’s ruling by the FCC that the Howard Stern radio program is a ‘bona fide news interview program’ was in response to a question about the FCC’s equal time requirements for political candidates, not about the FCC’s indecency law enforcement policies.

“Stern’s radio program is a concoction of radio shock jock swill and libertarian political diatribe.  When Stern is in his ‘swill’ mode, the FCC should, when appropriate, continue to treat him as a pig in the parlor and levy indecency fines against the stations that carry his program.

“But even when Stern is in his so-called ‘news’ mode, the FCC can still determine that particular program content violates the broadcast indecency law.  Serious value is an important factor to be considered in determining whether programming is indecent; but to my knowledge the FCC has not yet granted ‘news’ programs a total exemption from the requirements of the indecency law.

In this regard the ‘indecency’ definition differs from the ‘obscenity’ definition.   Programming can be ‘indecent’ even if it has serious value; but to be obscene, radio programming must be found to lack serious artistic, literary, political or scientific value.” Author: MIM   09/10/2003

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