Adult Content On The Airwaves Essay

3043 words - 12 pages

On July 26, 2001, Howard Stern asked a male staff member what the sexual term "blumpkin" meant ( In Richmond, Virginia, high school girls called into the "Elliot in the Morning" show to talk about their sex lives (Maynard). On May 28, 1998, radio jock Bubba the Love Sponge aired a discussion between him and a cartoon character ( He asked the character to describe the perfect woman and her genitals. The First Amendment didn't protect these radio jocks. All were fined for their broadcasts and these were not the only broadcasts they were fined for. "Freedom of speech" is three small but powerful words. They are simple words. Each can be defined in five words or less. But this is America and simple doesn't exist. Words and images can be bought, sold, manipulated, regulated, and destroyed. And the battle against broadcast indecency proves words and images are merely government property.The Federal Communications Commission is the government agency that has been watching our airwaves since 1934. The agency was originally the Federal Radio Commission (Campbell 118). In 1927, Congress passed the Radio Act of 1927 stating licensees did not own their channels. They had to serve the "public interest, convenience, or necessity" (118). Today the FCC is responsible for "interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable" ( The FCC is headed by five commissioners, all appointed by the President and then approved by the Senate. One commissioner is chosen by the President to be chairperson. Our current FCC chairperson is Michael Powell. Three commissioners may be members of the same political party. The FCC houses six bureaus and ten offices. It is important to know the FCC does not have any jurisdiction in print media. Print media has no government agency regulating their industry.In the March 2004 issue of Seventeen Magazine, 15-year-old Linze from San Antonio, Texas asked the magazine for help. They printed her question under the heading "Oral Report."Now imagine this question asked on television or radio. With the new proposed fine changes broadcasters could be fined a maximum of $3 million. Seventeen Magazine is allowed to print this because there is no government agency policing them. If they wanted to they could print the indecent things Howard Stern says on his radio show and higher powers could not intervene. There is a different standard for print media and broadcast media.The First Amendment has different levels of protection for different mediums. Two court cases - Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC in 1969 and the Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo in 1974 - demonstrate the difference between print and broadcast media (Campbell 561). In the Red Lion Broadcasting Co. case, Reverend Billy James Hargis attacked Fred Cook on the Pennsylvania radio station. Fred Cook was the author of a book that criticized Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate in 1964. When...

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