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lights out, guerilla radio

And the Super Bowl fallout continues.
U.S. regulators should consider whether radio and television services carried by cable and satellite must adhere to indecency standards, Federal Communications Commissioner Kevin Martin said on Wednesday.
No. No they shouldn't. I pay a ridiculous amount of money every month so I can get all the smut, cursing, violence and vulgar entertainment I want. I choose those station. They don't magically appear on my television unless I specifically call my cable company and say "Give me my Cinemax!" I control my own airwaves, because I pay for that right. I certainly don't think it would be fair for me to fork over $88 every month just so I can have my movie choices hindered by someone else's idea of indecency. This is about choice and freedom. No one is making you subscribe to the Playboy Channel. Even with basic cable, you get a remote that allows you to block certain channels. If you have a television in your kids' rooms, block the channels you find offensive. If you don't trust that the magic buttons on the remote will keep your kids from watching some ultra violent movie, then don't allow cable into your home in the first place. It's a choice. You choose to bring those movies and programs into your home. While I do believe that cable companies should offer more freedom with their packages, i.e., the ability to pick and choose your channels rather than subscribe to a pre-made package - my Spidey-sense is still tingling about this. Where does it stop? When does the FCC come to the realization that I do not need them to babysit me? Neither cable tv nor satellite radio are given away are accesible for free to anyone who wants them. When you sign up for either, you sign up for a certain amount of entertainment that you may find offensive. Don't like it? Don't subscribe. But don't go around making rules and regulations as if you know what's good for me. If I thought nudity and the word "mother fucker" and bloody knife fights were offensive, I wouldn't be getting 200 channels of blessed digital cable in my home. And I wouldn't be purchasing satellite radio for my car. The FCC must stop acting as if they were everyone's parents. Where does the line get drawn? Whose standard of decency to we use to curtail what is seen on pay television? What the hell happened to deciding for ourselves what kind of entertainment is seen or heard in the privacy of our own homes? I thought a conservative government meant less laws, not more. Step up and repudiate this idea, then. I'm just waiting for the day when some government regulation installs a curse jar in my house and comes to collect my Quarters of Indecency every month. Fuck that.

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» Don't touch that dial! from My Whim Is Law
This is painful for me to admit publicly, but I can no longer keep silent. After years of listening to NPR in the morning, whether in NYC or SF or here in Portland, I needed something different. So I started... [Read More]

» Radio & TV Fall: Will Pay-Mediums Follow? from the media drop
Thanks to Michele over at A Small Victory, we find out that at least one person at the FCC thinks some standards should apply to cable and satellite radio and television providers, just as they do to the "over the... [Read More]

Comments

I can't wait for the comparisons between the FCC's actions and the mutaween's beating of women who don't dress in abayas.

I saw a device in Newsweek a week or two ago that was essentially a Tivo that subscribed and downloaded video content over the Net. No satellite. No broadcast. No NTSC or HDTV transmission over cable.

Just data, sweet data, and you get it via cable-broadband, or DSL, or T1 or whatever. (repeat after me: content is data, broadcast-channels are meaningless, download-sources are in)

Reminded me of a device I saw at NAB a few years back, which was meant to push commercial spots from agencies to stations via a simple e-mail attachment over (at worst) dialup ISP. Crude and inferior to Vyvx satellite delivery of spots, but dirt cheap.

If you've got cable broadband, I wonder what the difference in decency requirements between video via that TCP-IP/Tivo-like device is and a simple cable box receiver.

They'll have to peel my digital cable remote control and box of kleenex from my cold dead hand..um..er..hands..

"What the hell happened to deciding for ourselves what kind of entertainment is seen or heard in the privacy of our own homes? I thought a conservative government meant less laws, not more. Step up and repudiate this idea, then."

Actually, it's up to you to repudiate this idea, by voting Bush out.

"What the hell happened to deciding for ourselves what kind of entertainment is seen or heard in the privacy of our own homes? I thought a conservative government meant less laws, not more. Step up and repudiate this idea, then."

Actually, it's up to you to repudiate this idea, by voting Bush out.

Oh, please. And vote in a party that thinks every other word in the English language is insulting to someone somewhere in the world and should be stricken from the dictionary?

Right.

AMEN

"Oh, please. And vote in a party that thinks every other word in the English language is insulting to someone somewhere in the world and should be stricken from the dictionary?"

I thought you weren't voting Demmy because they can't/won't fight the Islamonuts?

It doesn't really matter. When there is a lack of boobery on the tubery, and the nation's media is effectively controlled by Ned Flanders, I look forward to your blog entries.

"Stabbing for some, miniature American flags for the others!"

Maybe the FCC is taking a cue from America's good buddy Saudi "No Jews Allowed" Arabia.

Fuck that indeed.

And what does one do w/young children in the car?

Some have gladly turned over their parenting responsibilities to the school and state. The state and school have made a decision.

We need to get back to a certain level of courtesty and frankly, formality in society. I do not find it attractive when 5 y.o. use certain words. A child is not my peer.

As the Grouchy Old Cripple's (Denny) daddy used to say, "Cursing is the crutch of the conversational cripple."

As often as not I find cynicism a comfort...

Michelle, as long as cable companies make good money selling premium content, no administration is going to censor it. The guy from the FCC is just dreaming of a larger personal empire; he isn't gonna get much, except maybe funding for studies. And you know, that's just academic wanking....

But you bring up a good point, which is the perrenial rock-and-a-hard-place choice we get from our parties; which form of puritism do you find least threatening?

I have dreams of a Libertarian Party that isn't wistful for the Omega Man universe....

I have to wonder where the FCC is going to get the justfication for censorship of cable/satellite broadcasts. The concept that permitted it with regard to broadcast television and radio was the idea that the airwaves are public, and thus could be regulated by a government agency. However, the cable companies have no such restraint: they own those wires that brings their smut to your home. As such, the smut is a purely private transaction between the cable company and your bad self. Sadly, none of this applies in Canada. Doh, stupid CRTC!

Sandy asks: And what does one do w/young children in the car?

That's easy. You change the station, or put a CD or tape on. Or, god forbid, turn the music off and talk to your kid(s) instead about what you just heard and why you have issues with it.

That's what this mother of young kids says, anyway. Not everything has to be sanitized for consumption by children - not as long as there are on/off buttons and choices available.

"Actually, it's up to you to repudiate this idea, by voting Bush out."

Yeah, this shit never happened with a Dem as President..

Or did it

"The largest cumulative fine ever for indecency was $1.7 million paid by Infinity Broadcasting in 1995 for various violations by radio host Howard Stern."

Of course he also fined many times before being the pioneer in the whole shock jock phenomenon.

Geez for someone who claims to be a critical thinker, you're pretty midlessly partisan.

midlessly=mindlessly

"Yeah, this shit never happened with a Dem as President.."

Republicans are in power now. Put away your mood ring and get with the times. Your camp are one's saying 'it doesn't matter that W was a drunk driving, coke snorting deserter, that was in the past'. Consistency is something you lack.

"Of course he also fined many times before being the pioneer in the whole shock jock phenomenon."

Fines are his cost of doing business. Now CC has taken away his business.

"Geez for someone who claims to be a critical thinker, you're pretty midlessly partisan. "

Nope. I call 'em as I see 'em. It's a shame Michele doesn't cover firearm or Israeli issues.

Try again Vince. I'm your typical Zionazi jewpropgandist. <a href="jewpropgandist Yup.

Actually, the SCOTUS has pretty much already ruled on cable, and any regulations by the government would be held to the highest standard of first amendment scrutiny. See, for instance US v. Playboy and Sable v. FCC. Also, there was a case involving Turner cable television that I can't put my finger on right now.

The sable case was about "dial-a-porn" telephone services, but it helped establish that there was a significant difference between broadcast mass media and media that required active seeking on the part of those who wished to participate.

Playboy centered around "signal bleed" and minor's ability to view obscene or indecent materials through the bleed. Given the advances in cable technology to block out channels, the government's argument would be even more difficult to make.

This sounds like empty posturing on the part of politicians who know they can't do a thing about cable or - for that matter - satellite radio.

Satellite radio is an interesting conundrum that will probably have to be addressed eventually, since the case that most of this regulation talk is relying on - fcc v. pacifica - occurred under the older "broadcast" standard for radio. Now that radio has been separated from the broadcast spectrum, the court will probably put it on the same footing as cable.

So, to borrow a phrase from an SNL character, "simma da na!"

Nice try Vince.
Did you see the Filler Bunny?
Now that is a violent comic.
Besides why are you afraid of
firearms? In the right hands
they can be used to kill
tyrants who would destroy our
freedoms. Are you not for
liberating the oppressed?

Almost every political discussion we have revolves around elements of either the Left or the Right trying to gain control our lives.

Fact is, they're basically indistinguishable, except for the specifics of their wish-lists. Leftists want to confiscate our sheepskin coats and shotguns, Rightists want our condoms and porn. They both blab all day and all night long about how horribly aggrieved they are by the other side.

If you truly believe that either one of these groups is NOT trying to usurp control of our lives, then you are one of them. Relatively few in number, but extremely loud and very, very tiresome.

Did someone say Filler Bunny??

"Republicans are in power now. Put away your mood ring and get with the times. Your camp are one's saying 'it doesn't matter that W was a drunk driving, coke snorting deserter, that was in the past'. Consistency is something you lack."

How can I lack consistency? You making a strawman argument. Your prior implication is that Dems would be BETTER on this issue why I showed you their FCC is likely to be the same FCC.

"Fines are his cost of doing business. Now CC has taken away his business."

No, fines are the cost of CC, Viacom & Infinity before them doing business.

CC is punishing Howard and they can being his employer. If CC wants to be the "clean" network then that is their perogative. If they lose listeners, their business will suffer. As with many of Howard's previous battles, he will flog this for all its worth likely increasing his ratings.

"Nope. I call 'em as I see 'em."

You call nothing...messages that boil down to "don't vote for Bush" or "a vote for Bush makes you an evil person" on any and every subject no matter how remote is not calling like ya see 'em.

It's a shame Michele doesn't cover firearm or Israeli issues."

Are those you "two issues" for deciding on which party to support?

I don't think I'm on teh drugs, but firearms=freedom and my gf's gf is Jewish. I was implying while I disagree with Michele on this issue, I can agree with Republicans on some things.

Oy vay!

Well I hope this isn't a Vince-poster

"I don't think I'm on teh drugs, but firearms=freedom"

Huh? Firearms=freedom(fine with me thought Dems feel different)and you are undecided on the Drug War?

"and my gf's gf is Jewish."

Girlfriend's girlfriend? Well, you at the very least lead and interesting life.

"I was implying while I disagree with Michele on this issue, I can agree with Republicans on some things."

That's fine as is registering your dislike of Bush and non-desire to vote for him. But you have made it a mission in terms of single issues disqualifiying him when you know dam well that many people regardless of party tend to have wide ranging opinions depending on each issue.

Oy vay!

A few things about Stern has been bugging me...

Dr. Laura says offensive things about gay people(though without perjoratives). Gays anbd lesbians organize a boycott and eventually the company removes her TV show

Rush Limbaugh says Donovan McNabb isn't as good as advertised (which at the time he wasn't) and the media may be pumping him up because of his skin color. ESPN fires him because of the public outrage.

Greg Easterbrook makes some bizarre comments about Jewish people in Hollywood and he is fired by ESPN.

Stern has a caller on his show state that a black woman's(except using the n-word) vagina tastes like watermellon and he is SUSPENDED by SOME of the radio stations he is on.

Dr. Laura and Rush were defended by conservatives because they felt this was an attack on their views. But at the same time, they have no issue with "smut" being regulated...heavily.

Stern is defended by various people though some of his new found supporters seem to be doing so because he isn't the big Bush fan he was a few months ago. Now if Stern was still singing Bush's praises would he still get "support" from the bandwagon?

But even that is besides the point...the difference between the people above and Stern(other than political persuasion of fair weather free speech defenders) is that Stern means more money to the company he works for then the others did to their respective companies.

Both Ryan and Vince need to educate themselves, because it doesn't particularly matter which party is in the White House; by law, only three of the five FCC commissioners may belong to the same political party. And, as it happens, while Chairman Michael Powell is indeed a Republican, Michael Copps, the real bulldog who wants to increase the fines by an order of magnitude and haul people in front of license forfeiture hearings, is a Democrat.

"Both Ryan and Vince need to educate themselves, because it doesn't particularly matter which party is in the White House;"

Actually that was the my point.

But I still appreciate the education on the board makeup.

But Betsy, there are times when listening to something other than Disney Tunes, Barney, whatever would be nice. Are we supposed to be blocked off from the outside world for 5 or so years? And what about carpooling?

Trust me, I talk to my daughter.

My mom and dad were at either the Dolphin or Swan at WDW. They were on the mezzanine, a child which they took to be about 6 y.o. didn't get his way, his dad turned walked away and he yelled out You MF or FU. The mom, "Don't talk to your father like that." It's bad enough it's in the home, does society need to add to it? Is there no somewhat adult safe harbor that children can listen to and learn?

Unfortunately, society has to set the standards on occasion.

As Kathleen Parker once wrote, and I can't find my column any more, Who are we to judge? We are what's left of the Western World and if we don't do it, there won't be anything left.

Does society really need to lower ourselves to that level?

My apologies, Ryan -- you actually were a lot closer to the point than Vince was. I was way unnecessarily snarky, there.

Sandy, what you do in your household and for your kid(s) is entirely under your control, and you're free to set all the parameters you want to and set your own societal standards.

But if you're suggesting that we sanitize the public airwaves so that they're on the level of Barney or Disney Tunes for five years so that you have something to listen to as well - sorry, I have a huge issue with that. I won't even subject my kids to that stuff - again, my parameters, my decisions.

There's so much out there that isn't objectionable, and there are so many choices available - how hard is it to steer around the stuff that is? And if you really want to elevate society to a higher plane (a laudable goal - I don't like hearing 6 year olds swearing either), telling them what they can't listen to or read or watch isn't the place to start your campaign.