Looks like the Supreme Court has the opportunity to put its review of FCC indecency policies to test in the real world, as New Jersey’s Montclair State University has opened an investigation into the on-air behavior of disc jockeys at the university’s student-run station, WMSC 90.3.
The federal case in question involves an FCC policy that allows for fines against broadcasters who let swears flow like it’s free booze at a SXSW day party. In this particular instance, the policies are being challenged by Fox, ABC, and CBS, after brilliant commentary uttered by Bono, Cher, and Nicole Richie on awards shows in 2002 and 2003:
No fines were issued in the incidents, but the FCC could impose fines for future violations of the policy.
The case before the Court technically involves only two airings on Fox of the Billboard Music Awards in which celebrities’ expletives were broadcast over the airwaves.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Monday that he was pleased with the Court’s decision.
“The Commission, Congress and most importantly parents understand that protecting our children is our greatest responsibility,” he said in a prepared statement. “I continue to believe we have an obligation then to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience.”
Fox Broadcasting Co. was also pleased. The decision will “give us the opportunity to argue that the FCC’s expanded enforcement of the indecency law is unconstitutional in today’s diverse media marketplace where parents have access to a variety of tools to monitor their children’s television viewing,” company spokesman Scott Grogin said in a prepared statement.
It remains to be seen whether the decision will pan out successfully or not. My personal feeling is that if we were really thinking of the children, we could start by keeping some of these folks off the air. TV would be boring and less profitable, of course, so this case review comes at a moment when the networks are looking to capitalize on spectacles of all kinds.
Shock value is also the main selling point of this whole Montclair debacle, too. I don’t see what’s “edgy” about the alleged violations–has everyone forgotten already forgotten about The Vegetable Report and other shenanigans of radio’s past?
Montclair State University this week began an investigation into a February student radio broadcast that apparently included naked women, lap dancing and other sex acts.
A faculty adviser pulled the show off the air this week, but not until a parent of one of the women called the school Tuesday to complain about videos on the Web that purportedly showed the scene at the college-owned studio. The university began its probe Wednesday.
“Basically, it is what it appears to be and we’re looking into which of these individuals are students,” said Minne Ho, spokeswoman for the university. “If they are students here, we will find out who they are.” She said they could be sanctioned – from probation to expulsion – for behavior that detracts “from the core mission of the university.”
Some of the raunchy videos — which apparently date to a broadcast of the Randy Rogers show in February — were posted on one of the disc jockey’s Web sites Friday and were not removed until The Record tried to contact the DJs. One of the videos featured a man writing Rogers’ initials in whipped cream on the body of a naked girl in what appears to be the FM radio station’s studio.
The intro to the video directs viewers to tune in to the “Kinky Olympics” on WMSC 90.3 every Tuesday from 7 to 10 p.m. Other photos that appeared on the Web show men lining up and receiving lap dances.
Montclair State shock jocks in hot water [Northjersey.com]
Supreme Court Will Review FCC Policy on Broadcast Profanity [Law.com]