The watchdog group takes 3,000 complaints to the FCC about the Fox show’s April 25 episode centered on breast implants.
A handful of artists and celebrities have taken to live TV to use obscene language and put networks at risk of violating FCC decency rules. Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday told Fox Business Network “If we are presented with some complaints, we are duty-bound to enforce the law. And the law that is on the books today requires broadcast TV to keep it clean, so to speak. And so we take that obligation seriously.”
With the Super Bowl soon to kick off in Houston, The New York Times just ran a story recalling that during the last Super Bowl held in Houston, the notorious “wardrobe malfunction” occurred. The article highlighted the NFL’s concerns since then in picking halftime performers. To broadcasters, that incident raises a whole host of other issues, as it triggered a re-examination of the FCC’s indecency rules which, 13 years after the incident, does not appear to have any end in sight.
The Capitol Broadcasting NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., that cut the audio nine different times during last night’s broadcast of Saturday Night Live is reconsidering its policies on obscenity and decency. In a post made to its website Sunday afternoon, GM Steve Hammel said the station would review its policies and procedures, and seek viewer input as it did so.
The two groups have come to the defense of Schurz Communications-owned WDBJ Roanoke, Va., that is facing a record broadcast indecency fine — $325,000 — by the FCC.
The Roanoke, Va., station says the FCC made a number of errors in applying the maximum penalty for just 2.7 seconds of video covering a small portion of the screen.
The massive $325,000 indecency fine levied on the Schurz Communications CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va., puzzles an NAB Show panel. The infraction was fleeting, it was a fraction of the screen, it was news and most importantly, it was a mistake,” said attorney Dennis Corbett. In addition, the ruling did nothing to clarify the commission’s stated goal of going after only “egregious” indecency cases.
After an investigation, the FCC says the CBS Roanoke, Va., affiliate during a July 2012 newscast apparently aired “extremely graphic and explicit sexual content, specifically a video image of a hand stroking an erect penis.”
Liberman Broadcasting, which operates Spanish-language stations in Los Angeles, Houston and other cities, has settled a complaint over the show Jose Luis Sin Censura, agreeing to pay $110,000 in fines to the FCC for airing indecent and profane material.
FCC Chairman nominee Tom Wheeler says he thinks that “it is possible to call upon our better angels with some leadership” to help clean up programming.
ABC and its affiliates could relax the morning after The 83rd Annual Academy Awards. In accepting her prize for the Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Leo (The Fighter) got carried away. “When I watched Kate [Winslet] two years ago it looked so f***ing easy,” she said, immediately covering her mouth in horror that she’d just dropped the f-bomb on live TV. Fortunately, the producers were able to zap the gaff. Airing such language has brought heavy FCC fines in the past.
2011 will be a busy year for broadcasters with retrans, renewals and indecency, as well as for cable and satellite operators as well.