Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Thursday, April 08, 2004

media and society

-- media and society -- fine, just fine

FCC Set to Penalize Clear Channel for Stern Show (CNN Money, April 8, 2004)

Howard Stern, America's most popular shock jock, is about to be the cause of a large indecency fine -- possibly as much as $495,000 -- against radio-station giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. (CCU) as the federal government attempts an election-year cleanup of the nation's airwaves, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Stern had in recent years largely avoided the wrath of regulators. This fine, however, marks his second in the past month (the earlier one was for $27, 000). It is sure to escalate a battle between the Federal Communications Commission and Mr. Stern, who is using his loyal flock of listeners to drag everyone from Oprah Winfrey to President Bush into the national debate over indecency.

The FCC is expected to levy the fine for a Stern show Clear Channel aired last year, which was the target of a listener's complaint, say people familiar with the matter. Details of the fine were still being finalized late yesterday and could change, but the statute of limitations for responding to the listener's complaint expires today.

Wait ... they're going to fine that much money over ONE complaint?

Good grief. When did the FCC become such delicate passion flowers? For that matter, when did we become such delicate passion flowers? What on earth could Stern possibly have said that would warrant such a grotesque overreaction? I mean, I'm no fan of Clear Channel as such, but this is just silly.

One wonders if Our Glorious Leader's corporate masters -- er, I mean, if the ever-enthusiastic donors to his campaign might lean over to him and say, "Yo, George, you might want to back off on this a little. You're hitting us in the pocketbook, guy, which means you're hitting YOUR pocketbook. Really, maybe you could have that lapdog you call Secretary of State go talk to his son and make everyone ease off a little."

Locally, the FCC also affirmed the fines against WKQX Chicago (PDF, Adobe Acrobat required), for indecent comments on the Mancow Morning Show. (Mancow is also suing the person who lodged that complaint -- and quite a few others -- for harrassment.)

(Previously: radio ga-ga.

Posted by iain at 03:34 PM in category media and society